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Incomplete Information Models of Guilt Aversion in the Trust Game

  • Giuseppe Attanasi
  • Pierpaolo Battigalli
  • Elena Manzoni

In the theory of psychological games it is assumed that players' preferences on material consequences depend on endogenous beliefs. Most of the applications of this theoretical framework assume that the psychological utility functions representing such preferences are common knowledge. But this is often unrealistic. In particular, it cannot be true in experimental games where players are subjects drawn at random from a population. Therefore an incomplete-information methodology is called for. We take a first step in this direction, focusing on models of guilt aversion in the Trust Game. We consider two alternative modeling assumptions: (i) guilt aversion depends on the role played in the game, because only the "trustee" can feel guilt for letting the co-player down, (ii) guilt aversion is independent of the role played in the game. We show how the set of Bayesian equilibria changes as the upper bound on guilt sensitivity varies, and we compare this with the complete-information case. Our analysis illustrates the incomplete-information approach to psychological games and can help organize experimental results in the Trust Game. JEL classification: C72, C91, D03. Keywords: Psychological games, Trust Game, guilt, incomplete information.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 480.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:480
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  1. Simon G├Ąchter & Daniele Nosenzo & Elke Renner & Martin Sefton, 2012. "Who Makes A Good Leader? Cooperativeness, Optimism, And Leading-By-Example," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(4), pages 953-967, October.
  2. Caplin, A. & Leahy, J., 1999. "The Supply of Information by a Concerned Expert," Working Papers 99-08, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  3. Charles Bellemare & Alexander Sebald & Martin Strobel, 2010. "Measuring the Willingness to Pay to Avoid Guilt: Estimation using Equilibrium and Stated Belief Models," Discussion Papers 10-08, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  4. Dufwenberg, Martin, 2002. "Marital investments, time consistency and emotions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 57-69, May.
  5. Gerardo A. Guerra & Daniel John Zizzo, 2002. "Trust Responsiveness and Beliefs," Economics Series Working Papers 99, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Christoph Vanberg, 2008. "Why Do People Keep Their Promises? An Experimental Test of Two Explanations -super-1," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1467-1480, November.
  7. Giuseppe Attanasi & Pierpaolo Battigalli & Rosemarie Nagel, 2013. "Disclosure of Belief-Dependent Preferences in a Trust Game," Working Papers 506, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  8. ATTANASI Giuseppe & NAGEL Rosemarie, 2008. "A Survey of Psychological Games: Theoretical Findings and Experimental Evidence," LERNA Working Papers 08.07.251, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
  9. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
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