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The Cultural Transmission of Trust Norms: Evidence from a Lab in the Field on a Natural Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Jared Rubin

    () (Chapman University)

  • Elira Karaja

    () (Harriman Institute at Columbia University)

Abstract

We conduct trust games in three villages in a northeastern Romanian commune. From 1775-1919, these villages were arbitrarily assigned to opposite sides of the Austrian and Ottoman/Russian border despite being located seven kilometers apart. All three villages were ruled by outsiders to Romania, with Russian and Ottoman fiscal institutions being more rapacious. We conjecture that this history, combined with historical selective migration, contributed to a culture of trust of outsiders (relative to co-villagers) on the Austrian side of the border. Our design permits us to test this conjecture, and more generally, whether historically-derived cultural norms are transmitted intergenerationally. We find that participants on the Austrian side that also have family roots in the village are indeed more likely to trust outsiders but less likely to trust co-villagers.

Suggested Citation

  • Jared Rubin & Elira Karaja, 2017. "The Cultural Transmission of Trust Norms: Evidence from a Lab in the Field on a Natural Experiment," Working Papers 17-08, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:17-08
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    Cited by:

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    2. Chaudhary, Latika & Rubin, Jared & Iyer, Sriya & Shrivastava, Anand, 2020. "Culture and colonial legacy: Evidence from public goods games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 107-129.
    3. Elvis Cheng Xu, 2019. "Impacts of Urbanisation on Trust: Evidence from an Experiment in the Field," Discussion Papers 2019-10, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    4. Kirk, H., 2019. "Cooperation and Creed: An Experimental Study of Religious Affiliation in Strategic and Societal Interactions," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1995, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    5. Elvis Cheng Xu, 2019. "Impacts of Urbanisation on Trust: Evidence from a Lab in the Field on a Natural Experiment," Artefactual Field Experiments 00676, The Field Experiments Website.
    6. Murat Iyigun & Jared Rubin, 2017. "The Ideological Roots of Institutional Change," Working Papers 17-06, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    7. Uberti, Luca J., 2018. "Corruption in transition economies: Socialist, Ottoman or structural?," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 533-555.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    trust; outgroup trust; trust game; culture; cultural transmission; natural experiment; field experiment; laboratory experiment; norms; Romania; Austria; Ottoman Empire; Habsburg Empire;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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