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Representative trust and reciprocity: Prevalence and determinants

Author

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  • Dohmen, Thomas J.
  • Falk, Armin
  • Huffman, David
  • Sunde, Uwe

Abstract

This paper provides evidence about the determinants of trust and reciprocal inclinations, that is, a tendency for people to respond in kind to hostile or kind actions, in a representative setting. We investigate the prevalence of reciprocity in the population, the correlation between trust and positive and negative reciprocal inclinations within person, the individual determinants of reciprocity, and the relationship with psychological measures of personality. We find that most people state reciprocal inclinations, in particular in terms of positive reciprocity, as well as substantial heterogeneity in the degree of trust and reciprocity. Trust and positive reciprocity are only weakly correlated, while trust and negative reciprocity exhibit a negative correlation. In terms of determinants, being female and increasing age are associated with stronger positive and weaker negative reciprocal tendencies. Taller people are more positively reciprocal, but height has no impact on negative reciprocity. Psychological traits also affect trust and reciprocity. (JEL D63, J3, J6)

Suggested Citation

  • Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2008. "Representative trust and reciprocity: Prevalence and determinants," Munich Reprints in Economics 20057, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20057
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    2. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
    3. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
    4. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher & Bernhard von Rosenbladt & J�rgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, "undated". "A Nation-Wide Laboratory: Examining trust and trustworthiness by integrating behavioral experiments into representative surveys," IEW - Working Papers 141, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2004. "Trust, risk and betrayal," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 467-484, December.
    6. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
    7. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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