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The Elasticity of Trust: How to Promote Trust in the Arab Middle East and the United States


  • Bohnet, Iris

    (Harvard University)

  • Herrmann, Benedikt

    (European Commission)

  • Al-Ississ, Mohamad

    (Harvard University)

  • Robbett, Andrea

    (CA Institute of Technology)

  • Al-Yahia, Khalid

    (Dubai School of Government)

  • Zeckhauser, Richard

    (Harvard University)


To trust is to risk. When we lend someone money, we make ourselves vulnerable, hoping or expecting that the borrower will reward our trust and return the money at a later stage, possibly with interest or a reciprocal favor added. This paper examines whether willingness to trust follows the same logic, that is, whether it responds to changes in the expected value of trusting, much like willingness to take risk responds to changes in the expected value of risk taking in various countries of the Arab Middle East, namely, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and in the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Bohnet, Iris & Herrmann, Benedikt & Al-Ississ, Mohamad & Robbett, Andrea & Al-Yahia, Khalid & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2010. "The Elasticity of Trust: How to Promote Trust in the Arab Middle East and the United States," Working Paper Series rwp10-031, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp10-031

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gneezy, Uri & Rustichini, Aldo, 2000. "A Fine is a Price," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-17, January.
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    3. AfDB AfDB, . "African Development Report 2002," African Development Report, African Development Bank, number 19 edited by Adeleke Oluwole Salami, July-Dece.
    4. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2004. "Trust, risk and betrayal," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 467-484, December.
    5. Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives-Trust and Trustworthiness Among CEOs," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 743-771, September.
    6. Pillutla, Madan M. & Murnighan, J. Keith, 1996. "Unfairness, Anger, and Spite: Emotional Rejections of Ultimatum Offers," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 208-224, December.
    7. Kuran, Timur, 2005. "The logic of financial westernization in the Middle East," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 593-615, April.
    8. AfDB AfDB, . "African Development Report 2004," African Development Report, African Development Bank, number 21 edited by Adeleke Oluwole Salami, July-Dece.
    9. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. S. Bowles & S. Polania-Reyes., 2013. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: Substitutes or Complements?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.

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