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An Experimental Approach to Comparing Trust in Pastoral and Non-Pastoral Australia

Author

Listed:
  • Ryan R J McAllister
  • Andrew F Reeson

    () (CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Australia)

Abstract

It is generally held that rural Australians are more cooperative in character than their urban counterparts. To explore one aspect of this notion, we conducted an experiment which compared trust and trustworthiness among a sample of Australian senior high school students which included students with both pastoral and non-pastoral backgrounds. While student behaviour is unlikely to mimic adult behaviour, any significant differences between pastoral and non-pastoral students would suggest differences do exist between the social norms that guide pastoral and non-pastoral communities. We repeated our experiment at three different schools containing students from both pastoral and non-pastoral backgrounds, allowing us to draw comparisons. In total 78 students participated. Our experiments were based on similar experiments that have been applied across a range of contexts internationally (trust game/investment game). We did not find evidence of differences between students with pastoral and non-pastoral backgrounds, either in the level of trust in others or in trustworthiness, though our methods probably have a bias towards this conclusion. Our results concurred with other studies in showing that social distance is an important determinant of the level of cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Ryan R J McAllister & Andrew F Reeson, 2007. "An Experimental Approach to Comparing Trust in Pastoral and Non-Pastoral Australia," Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED) Working Paper Series 2007-09, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.
  • Handle: RePEc:cse:wpaper:2007-09
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    File URL: http://www.csiro.au/files/files/pjkg.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2007
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Reeson & Karel Nolles, 2009. "Experimental Economics: Applications to Environmental Policy," Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED) Working Paper Series 2009-03, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    rural urban relations; economic behaviour; culture; arid zones; semiarid zones; pastoral society;

    JEL classification:

    • R00 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • P25 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values

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