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People's trust: the design of a survey-based experiment

  • Ermisch, John
  • Gambetta, Diego

In this paper we present the design of a two-stage experiment which aims to measure trusting and trustworthiness in a representative sample of the British population. In the first part we discuss the shortcomings of the most common design of the ‘trust-game’ experiment in eliciting information about clear and cogent notions of trusting and trustworthiness, and in the second part we present an alternative design, which we call the ‘framed binary trust game’. The basic design will be administered to a sample of 200 subjects who were formerly members of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS). In the third part of the paper, we extend this design to allow the ‘truster’ to purchase some information about the ‘trustee’ so as to make the experiment a better representation of real-life trust decisions. We plan in a second stage to run the extended experiment on a larger sample of about 1000 subjects.

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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2006-34.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2006-34
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  1. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2004. "Trust, risk and betrayal," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 467-484, December.
  3. Iris Bohnet & Heike Harmgart & Steffen Huck & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2005. "Learning Trust," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 322-329, 04/05.
  4. Armin Falk & David Huffman & Gert Wagner & Jurgen Schupp & Thomas Dohmen & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Individual risk attitudes: New evidence from a large, representative, experimentally-validated survey," Framed Field Experiments 00140, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Abigail Barr, 2003. "Trust and expected trustworthiness: experimental evidence from zimbabwean villages," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 614-630, 07.
  6. repec:ese:iserwp:2004-14 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Annette Jäckle & Emanuela Sala & Stephen P. Jenkins & Peter Lynn, 2005. "Validation of Survey Data on Income and Employment: The ISMIE Experience," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 488, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  8. Ernst Fehr & Bettina Rockenbach, 2003. "Detrimental effects of sanctions on human altruism," Microeconomics 0305007, EconWPA.
  9. Bohnet, Iris & Croson, Rachel, 2004. "Trust and trustworthiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 443-445, December.
  10. Iris Bohnet & Steffen Huck, 2004. "Repetition and Reputation: Implications for Trust and Trustworthiness When Institutions Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 362-366, May.
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