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Age and the development of trust and reciprocity

  • Matthias Sutter

    ()

  • Martin G. Kocher

We examine the degree of trust and reciprocity in an experimental trust game with 662 participants from six different age groups, ranging from 8 year old primary school children to retired persons in their late sixties. Although both trust and reciprocity have been identified as fundamental pillars for smooth and efficient economic interactions, economic research has devoted surprisingly little attention to their development with age. Our results provide clear evidence that trust in anonymous partners increases almost linearly from early childhood to early adulthood, but stays constant afterwards. Reciprocity prevails in all age groups, although its degree also seems to increase with age.

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Paper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group in its series Papers on Strategic Interaction with number 2004-01.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2004-01
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  1. Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs & Schupp, Jürgen & von Rosenbladt, Bernhard & Wagner, Gert Georg, 2003. "A Nationwide Laboratory Examining Trust and Trustworthiness by Integrating Behavioural Experiments into Representative Surveys," CEPR Discussion Papers 3858, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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