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Trust and Cooperation at a Confluence of Worlds: An Experiment in Xinjiang, China

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  • Zhe Zhang
  • Louis Putterman
  • Xu Zhang

Abstract

We study trust and willingness to cooperate among and between Uyghur and Han college students in Xinjiang, China, where tensions exist between the two ethnic groups. We conduct an incentivized laboratory-style decision-making experiment in which within and between group interactions occur among identifiable participants without traceability of individual decisions. We find that members of each ethnicity show favoritism towards those of their own ethnicity in both trust and cooperation and that communication enhances inter- ethnic cooperation significantly. We also find that Uyghur and Han subjects behave differently in their willingness to cooperate relative to trust, although both trust and trustworthiness positively correlate with willingness to cooperate on the individual level.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhe Zhang & Louis Putterman & Xu Zhang, 2018. "Trust and Cooperation at a Confluence of Worlds: An Experiment in Xinjiang, China," Working Papers 2018-4, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2018-4
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    Cited by:

    1. Mantilla, César & Zhou, Ling & Wang, Charlotte & Yang, Donghui & Shen, Suping & Seabright, Paul, 2021. "Favoring your in-group can harm both them and you: Ethnicity and public goods provision in China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 211-233.
    2. Zhang, Zhe & Zhang, Xu & Putterman, Louis, 2019. "Trust and cooperation at a confluence of worlds: An experiment in Xinjiang, China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 128-144.
    3. Sophie Cetre, 2020. "Essays on the determinants of wage inequality [Etudes des déterminants des inégalités salariales]," SciencePo Working papers tel-03408393, HAL.
    4. Rebecca B. Morton & Kai Ou & Xiangdong Qin, 2022. "Analytical thinking, prosocial voting, and intergroup competition: experimental evidence from China," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 191(3), pages 363-385, June.
    5. Sophie Cetre, 2020. "Essays on the determinants of wage inequality," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/53c4o1e509l, Sciences Po.
    6. Barriga, Alicia & Ferguson, Neil T. N. & Fiala, Nathan & Leroch, Martin Alois, 2020. "Ethnic cooperation and conflict in Kenya," Ruhr Economic Papers 872, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.

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    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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