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Is Trust a Bad Investment?

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  • Nava Ashraf
  • Iris Bohnet
  • Nikita Piankov

Abstract

This paper examines whether trust is an investment decision under uncertainty, based on the expectation of trustworthiness, and whether trustworthiness is reciprocity, conditional on one?s counterpart?s behavior. In trust experiments in Russia, South Africa and the United States, two thirds of the subjects who trust do not expect trust to pay monetarily. We find substantial heterogeneity in motivation: Expectations of return account for most of women?s trust, and reciprocity for most of Americans? trustworthiness. Men?s trust and Russians? and South Africans? trustworthiness are significantly related to unconditional kindness as measured by subjects? behavior in dictator games, us ing a within-subject design.

Suggested Citation

  • Nava Ashraf & Iris Bohnet & Nikita Piankov, 2004. "Is Trust a Bad Investment?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-07, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2004-07
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Benno Torgler & Friedrich Schneider, 2007. "What Shapes Attitudes Toward Paying Taxes? Evidence from Multicultural European Countries," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 88(2), pages 443-470.
    2. Pfaff, Alexander & Vélez, Maria Alejandra, 2012. "Efficiency and equity in negotiated resource transfers: Contributions and limitations of trust with limited contracts," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 55-63.
    3. Tomomi Tanaka & Colin F. Camerer & Quang Nguyen, 2006. "Preferences, Poverty and Politics: Experimental and Survey Data from Vietnam," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000054, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. Alessandro Innocenti & Maria Grazia Pazienza, 2006. "Altruism and Gender in the Trust Game," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 005, University of Siena.
    5. Mahajna, Ahmad & Benzion, Uri & Bogaire, Ravid & Shavit, Tal, 2008. "Subjective discount rates among Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2513-2522, December.
    6. René Fahr & Bernd Irlenbusch, 2008. "Identifying personality traits to enhance trust between organisations: an experimental approach," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(6), pages 469-487.
    7. Urs Fischbacher & Simon G�chter, 2005. "Heterogeneous social preferences and the dynamics of free riding in public goods," IEW - Working Papers 261, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    8. Kanagaretnam, Kiridaran & Mestelman, Stuart & Nainar, Khalid & Shehata, Mohamed, 2009. "The impact of social value orientation and risk attitudes on trust and reciprocity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 368-380, June.
    9. Tu, Qin & Bulte, Erwin, 2010. "Trust, Market Participation and Economic Outcomes: Evidence from Rural China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1179-1190, August.
    10. Michael Naef & Jürgen Schupp, 2009. "Measuring Trust: Experiments and Surveys in Contrast and Combination," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 167, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    11. Catherine Eckel & Rick Wilson, 2006. "Internet cautions: Experimental games with internet partners," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(1), pages 53-66, April.
    12. Burns, Justine, 2006. "Racial stereotypes, stigma and trust in post-apartheid South Africa," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 805-821, September.
    13. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2004. "Trust, risk and betrayal," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 467-484, December.
    14. Alm, James & Torgler, Benno, 2006. "Culture differences and tax morale in the United States and in Europe," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 224-246, April.
    15. Robert Hoffmann, 2006. "The Cognitive Origins of Social Stratification," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 28(3), pages 233-249, October.
    16. Justine Burns, 2004. "Race and trust in post-apartheid South Africa," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 078, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    17. Clinton J. Pecenka & Godfrey Kundhlande, 2013. "Theft in South Africa: An Experiment to Examine the Influence of Racial Identity and Inequality," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(5), pages 737-753, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trust; kindness; reciprocity; gender; cross-cultural experiments.;

    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

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