Beliefs and Trust: An Experiment
In this paper, we address trust by combining (i) the self-reported trust and belief in trustworthiness of others from a general unpaid questionnaire, (ii) choices made in a social valuation task designed to measure subjects' distributional preferences, (iii) strategies submitted in a trust game in both roles of the game, and (iv) subjects' beliefs about the stategies of their co-player submitted in the form of probability distributions and incentivized by the quadratic scoring rule. We show that trust can be expressed as a belief in positive reciprocity by the trustee. Distributional preferences also play a role in the decision to trust in that they affect the subjects' beliefs about the positive reciprocity of others. Cooperative subjects are more optimistic in their beliefs and therefore they trust more.
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