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Disclosure of Belief-Dependent Preferences in a Trust Game

  • Giuseppe Attanasi
  • Pierpaolo Battigalli
  • Rosemarie Nagel

Experimental evidence suggests that agents in social dilemmas have belief-dependent, other-regarding preferences. But in experimental games such preferences cannot be common knowledge, because subjects play with anonymous co-players. We address this issue theoretically and experimentally in the context of a trust game, assuming that the trustee’s choice may be affected by a combination of guilt aversion and intention-based reciprocity. We recover trustees’ belief-dependent preferences from their answers to a structured questionnaire. In the main treatment, the answers are disclosed and made common knowledge within each matched pair. Our main auxiliary assumption is that such disclosure approximately implements a psychological game with complete information. To organize the data, we classify subjects according to their elicited preferences, and compare predictions for the complete-information model (main treatment) with robust qualitative predictions for the incomplete-information model (control).JEL classification: C72, C91, D03. Keywords: Experiments, psychological games, trust game, guilt, reciprocity, incomplete and complete information.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 506.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:506
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  1. 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.
  2. Luca Stanca & Luigino Bruni & Luca Corazzini, 2007. "Testing Theories of Reciprocity: Do Motivations Matter?," Working Papers 109, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 2007.
  3. Giuseppe Attanasi & Pierpaolo Battigalli & Elena Manzoni, 2013. "Incomplete Information Models of Guilt Aversion in the Trust Game," Working Papers 246, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2013.
  4. 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.
  5. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  6. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Testing Theories of Fairness - Intentions Matter," IEW - Working Papers 063, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Gerardo A. Guerra & Daniel John Zizzo, 2002. "Trust Responsiveness and Beliefs," Economics Series Working Papers 99, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Dufwenberg, Martin, 2002. "Marital investments, time consistency and emotions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 57-69, May.
  9. Michael Bacharach & Gerardo Guerra & Daniel Zizzo, 2007. "The Self-Fulfilling Property of Trust: An Experimental Study," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 63(4), pages 349-388, December.
  10. 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.
  11. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  12. Kiryl Khalmetski & Axel Ockenfels & Peter Werner, 2013. "Surprising Gifts - Theory and Laboratory Evidence," Working Paper Series in Economics 61, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  13. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
  14. Camelia M. Kuhnen & Agnieszka Tymula, 2012. "Feedback, Self-Esteem, and Performance in Organizations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(1), pages 94-113, January.
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