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Trust and Trustworthiness of Immigrants and Native-Born Americans

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  • James C. Cox
  • Wafa Hakim Orman

Abstract

Trust and trustworthiness are crucial to amelioration of social dilemmas. Distrust and malevolence aggravate social dilemmas. We use an experimental moonlighting game with a sample of the U.S. population, oversampling immigrants, to observe interactions between immigrants and native-born Americans in a social dilemma situation that can elicit both benevolent and malevolent actions. We survey participants in order to relate outcomes in the moonlighting game to demographic characteristics and traditional, survey-based measures of trust and trustworthiness and show that they are strongly correlated. Overall, we find that immigrants are as trusting as native-born U.S. citizens when they interact with native-born citizens but do not trust other immigrants. Immigrants appear to be less trustworthy overall but this finding disappears when we control for demographic variables. Women and older people are less likely to trust but no more or less trustworthy. Highly religious immigrants are less trusting and less trustworthy than both other immigrants and native-born Americans.

Suggested Citation

  • James C. Cox & Wafa Hakim Orman, 2015. "Trust and Trustworthiness of Immigrants and Native-Born Americans," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2015-03, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:exc:wpaper:2015-03
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James C. Cox & Daniel Friedman & Vjollca Sadiraj, 2008. "Revealed Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 31-69, January.
    2. MICHAEL R. CARTER & Marco Castillo, 2002. "The Economic Impacts of Altruism, Trust and Reciprocity: An Experimental Approach to Social Capital," Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural and Applied Economics Staff Papers 448, Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural and Applied Economics Department.
    3. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
    4. Simon Gächter & Elke Renner, 2010. "The effects of (incentivized) belief elicitation in public goods experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(3), pages 364-377, September.
    5. Abbink, Klaus & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Renner, Elke, 2000. "The moonlighting game: An experimental study on reciprocity and retribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 265-277, June.
    6. García-Muñoz, Teresa & Neuman, Shoshana, 2012. "Is Religiosity of Immigrants a Bridge or a Buffer in the Process of Integration? A Comparative Study of Europe and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 6384, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846.
      • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    8. James Cox & Klarita Sadiraj & Vjollca Sadiraj, 2008. "Implications of trust, fear, and reciprocity for modeling economic behavior," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(1), pages 1-24, March.
    9. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs, 2008. "Testing theories of fairness--Intentions matter," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 287-303, January.
    10. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Measuring Beliefs in an Experimental Lost Wallet Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 163-182, February.
    11. Grootaert Grootaert & Deepa Narayan & Veronica Nyhan Jones & Michael Woolcock, 2004. "Measuring Social Capital : An Integrated Questionnaire," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15033, October.
    12. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Felfe, Christina & Kocher, Martin & Rainer, Helmut & Saurer, Judith & Siedler, Thomas, 2018. "More Opportunity, More Cooperation? The Behavioral Effects of Birthright Citizenship on Immigrant Youth," Economics Series 340, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    2. Gylfason, Haukur Freyr & Olafsdottir, Katrin, 2017. "Does Gneezy's cheap talk game measure trust?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 143-148.

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    Keywords

    experiment; trust; trustworthiness; religiosity; immigrants; native-born;

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