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Trust, Reciprocity and Rules

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas A. Rietz

    (Henry B. Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa)

  • Eric Schniter

    (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)

  • Roman M. Sheremeta

    (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University)

  • Timothy W. Shields

    (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University)

Abstract

In the absence of enforceable contracts, many economic and personal interactions rely on trust and reciprocity. Research shows that although this reliance often works well, sometimes it breaks down. Simple rules mandating minimum standards on reciprocation prevent the most egregious trust violations, but may also undermine behavior that would have otherwise produced higher overall economic welfare. We test the efficacy of exogenously imposed minimum return rules using experimental trust games. We find that rules fail to increase trust and trustworthiness. Thus low minimum standards significantly decrease economic welfare. Although sufficiently restrictive rules restore welfare, trust and trustworthy behavior never returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas A. Rietz & Eric Schniter & Roman M. Sheremeta & Timothy W. Shields, 2011. "Trust, Reciprocity and Rules," Working Papers 11-06, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:11-06
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Schniter, Eric & Sheremeta, Roman & Shields, Timothy, 2015. "The Problem with All-or-nothing Trust Games: What Others Choose Not to Do Matters In Trust-based Exchange," MPRA Paper 68561, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Jared Rubin & Anya Samek & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2018. "Loss aversion and the quantity–quality tradeoff," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(2), pages 292-315, June.
    3. Eric Schniter & Roman M. Sheremeta & Timothy W. Shields, 2013. "Limitations to Signaling Trust with All or Nothing Investments," Working Papers 13-24, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    4. Erik O. Kimbrough & Alexander Vostroknutov, 2016. "Norms Make Preferences Social," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 608-638, June.
    5. Jared Rubin & Anya Samek & Roman Sheremeta, 2016. "Incentivizing Quantity and Quality of Output: An Experimental Investigation of The Quantity-Quality Trade-Off," Artefactual Field Experiments 00438, The Field Experiments Website.
    6. Eric Schniter & Timothy Shields, 2013. "Recalibrational Emotions and the Regulation of Trust-Based Behaviors," Working Papers 13-16, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    trust games; experiments; reputation; information; reciprocity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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