IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hrr/papers/0206.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Trust, Communication and Contracts: An Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Avner Ben-Ner

    ()

  • Louis Putterman

    ()

Abstract

In the one-shot trust or investment game without opportunities for reputation formation or contracting, economic theory predicts no trusting because there is no incentive for trustworthiness. Under these conditions, theory predicts (a) no effect of pre-play communication, and (b) universal preference for moderate cost binding contracts over interacting without contracts. We introduce the opportunities to engage in pre-play communication and to enter binding or non-binding contracts, and find (a) communication increases trusting and trustworthiness, (b) contracts are largely unnecessary for trusting and trustworthy behaviors and are eschewed by many players, and (c) more trusting leads to higher earnings, and (d) both trustors and trustees favor “fair and efficient” proposals over the more unequal proposals predicted by theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Avner Ben-Ner & Louis Putterman, "undated". "Trust, Communication and Contracts: An Experiment," Working Papers 0206, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus).
  • Handle: RePEc:hrr:papers:0206
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.legacy-irc.csom.umn.edu/RePEC/hrr/papers/0206.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
    2. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin A & Smith, Vernon L, 1998. "Behavioral Foundations of Reciprocity: Experimental Economics and Evolutionary Psychology," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 335-352, July.
    3. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    4. Jeannette Brosig & Joachim Weimann & Axel Ockenfels, 2003. "The Effect of Communication Media on Cooperation," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4(2), pages 217-241, May.
    5. Brosig, Jeannette, 2002. "Identifying cooperative behavior: some experimental results in a prisoner's dilemma game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 275-290, March.
    6. Bochet, Olivier & Page, Talbot & Putterman, Louis, 2006. "Communication and punishment in voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 11-26, May.
    7. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
    8. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
    9. Sanchez-Pages, Santiago & Vorsatz, Marc, 2007. "An experimental study of truth-telling in a sender-receiver game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 86-112, October.
    10. Frohlich, Norman & Oppenheimer, Joe, 1998. "Some consequences of e-mail vs. face-to-face communication in experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 389-403, April.
    11. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
    12. Ochs, Jack & Roth, Alvin E, 1989. "An Experimental Study of Sequential Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 355-384, June.
    13. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2004. "Trust, risk and betrayal," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 467-484, December.
    14. Ostrom, Elinor & Walker, James & Gardner, Roy, 1992. "Covenants with and without a Sword: Self-Governance Is Possible," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 86(2), pages 404-417, June.
    15. Ben-Ner, Avner & Putterman, Louis, 2000. "On some implications of evolutionary psychology for the study of preferences and institutions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 91-99, September.
    16. Isaac, R Mark & Walker, James M, 1988. "Communication and Free-Riding Behavior: The Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 585-608, October.
    17. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
    18. Harvey James, 2002. "The Trust Paradox: A Survey of Economic Inquiries Into the Nature of Trust and Trustworthiness," Microeconomics 0202001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Houser, Daniel & Xiao, Erte & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon, 2008. "When punishment fails: Research on sanctions, intentions and non-cooperation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 509-532, March.
    20. Sloof, Randolph & Sonnemans, Joep & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 2004. "Specific investments, holdup, and the outside option principle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 1399-1410, December.
    21. Buchan, Nancy R. & Johnson, Eric J. & Croson, Rachel T.A., 2006. "Let's get personal: An international examination of the influence of communication, culture and social distance on other regarding preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 373-398, July.
    22. James Jr., Harvey S., 2002. "The trust paradox: a survey of economic inquiries into the nature of trust and trustworthiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 291-307, March.
    23. Rigdon, Mary, 2009. "Trust and reciprocity in incentive contracting," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 93-105, May.
    24. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1985. "A Bargaining Model with Incomplete Information about Time Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(5), pages 1151-1172, September.
    25. Talbot Page & Louis Putterman & Bulent Unel, 2005. "Voluntary Association in Public Goods Experiments: Reciprocity, Mimicry and Efficiency," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 1032-1053, October.
    26. Ernst Fehr & Bettina Rockenbach, 2003. "Detrimental effects of sanctions on human altruism," Microeconomics 0305007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    27. McCabe, Kevin A. & Rigdon, Mary L. & Smith, Vernon L., 2003. "Positive reciprocity and intentions in trust games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 267-275, October.
    28. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 336, CESifo.
    29. Avner Ben-Ner & Louis Putterman & Ting Ren, 2007. "Lavish Returns on Cheap Talk: Non-binding Communication in a Trust Experiment," Working Papers 2007-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    30. Eckel, Catherine C. & Wilson, Rick K., 2004. "Is trust a risky decision?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 447-465, December.
    31. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Ben-Ner, Avner & Putterman, Louis & Ren, Ting, 2011. "Lavish returns on cheap talk: Two-way communication in trust games," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-13, February.
    2. Bochet, Olivier & Putterman, Louis, 2009. "Not just babble: Opening the black box of communication in a voluntary contribution experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 309-326, April.
    3. Bochet, Olivier & Page, Talbot & Putterman, Louis, 2006. "Communication and punishment in voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 11-26, May.
    4. Cinyabuguma, Matthias & Page, Talbot & Putterman, Louis, 2005. "Cooperation under the threat of expulsion in a public goods experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1421-1435, August.
    5. Koukoumelis, Anastasios & Levati, M. Vittoria & Weisser, Johannes, 2012. "Leading by words: A voluntary contribution experiment with one-way communication," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 379-390.
    6. Murnighan, J. Keith & Wang, Long, 2016. "The social world as an experimental game," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 80-94.
    7. Zhang, Zhe & Zhang, Xu & Putterman, Louis, 2019. "Trust and cooperation at a confluence of worlds: An experiment in Xinjiang, China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 128-144.
    8. Bernd Irlenbusch & Janna Ter Meer, 2015. "Lying in public good games with and without punishment," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 06-02, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
    9. Roman M. Sheremeta & Jingjing Zhang, 2014. "Three-Player Trust Game With Insider Communication," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(2), pages 576-591, April.
    10. Rigdon, Mary, 2009. "Trust and reciprocity in incentive contracting," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 93-105, May.
    11. Kanagaretnam, Kiridaran & Mestelman, Stuart & Nainar, Khalid & Shehata, Mohamed, 2009. "The impact of social value orientation and risk attitudes on trust and reciprocity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 368-380, June.
    12. Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann, 2008. "Reciprocity, culture, and human cooperation: Previous insights and a new cross-cultural experiment," Discussion Papers 2008-14, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    13. Ertan, Arhan & Page, Talbot & Putterman, Louis, 2009. "Who to punish? Individual decisions and majority rule in mitigating the free rider problem," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 495-511, July.
    14. Rattaphon Wuthisatian & Mark Pingle & Mark Nichols, 2017. "To support trust and trustworthiness: punish, communicate, both, neither?," Journal of Behavioral Economics for Policy, Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics (SABE), vol. 1(1), pages 61-68, February.
    15. Houser, Daniel & Xiao, Erte & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon, 2008. "When punishment fails: Research on sanctions, intentions and non-cooperation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 509-532, March.
    16. Calabuig, Vicente & Fatas, Enrique & Olcina, Gonzalo & Rodriguez-Lara, Ismael, 2016. "Carry a big stick, or no stick at all," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 153-171.
    17. Jeongbin Kim & Louis Putterman & Xinyi Zhang, 2019. ""Trust, Beliefs and Cooperation: Excavating a Foundation of Strong Economics," Working Papers 2019-10, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    18. Xiao, Erte, 2017. "Justification and conformity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 15-28.
    19. Ones, Umut & Putterman, Louis, 2007. "The ecology of collective action: A public goods and sanctions experiment with controlled group formation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 495-521, April.
    20. Daniel Woods & Maroš Servátka, 2019. "Nice to you, nicer to me: Does self-serving generosity diminish the reciprocal response?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 22(2), pages 506-529, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    trust game; trust; trustworthiness; reciprocity; commitment; communication. Comparative analysis of agency problems; Production of public goods;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hrr:papers:0206. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mary Helen Walker). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/ircmnus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.