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Measuring Trust: A Reinvestigation

Listed author(s):
  • Billur Aksoy

    ()

    (Texas A&M University, Department of Economics)

  • Haley Harwell

    ()

    (University of Richmond, Jepson School of Leadership Studies)

  • Ada Kovaliukaite

    ()

    (Texas A&M University, Department of Economics)

  • Catherine Eckel

    ()

    (Texas A&M University, Department of Economics)

We reinvestigate the question first posed by Glaeser, Laibson, Scheinkman and Soutter (2000, GLSS hereafter): What is the best measure of trust for predicting trusting behavior? This important study, cited over 2,100 times, established that the behavior in the investment game, an incentivized measure of trust, is not correlated with the responses to the most widely used survey questions about trust, employed in the General Social Survey (GSS) and the World Values Survey (WVS). We use the GLSS protocol with one major change: we employ the original Berg et al. (1995) investment game instead of the modified version used in GLSS. The standard game endows both players, while the latter endows only the first mover, potentially changing the incentives that influence subjects’ behavior. In particular, the utility from trusting behavior for inequality averse individuals may be higher, if the second movers are not endowed. Thus, such players may appear to be more trusting even though they are simply inequality averse. This causes a distortion in the laboratory measure of trust and reduces its correlation with the survey measure of trust. In support of this concern, GLSS demonstrates that the survey measure of trust is not correlated with trusting behavior in their investment game, where the second mover is not endowed. After endowing the second mover, we find the opposite. Our finding suggests that trust is a single construct, whether measured by the survey questions or by an incentivized game. This can be masked if the incentivized measure of trust is confounded with other motives.

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File URL: http://respec.tamu.edu/aksoymeasuringtrust.pdf
File Function: First version, 2017
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Paper provided by Texas A&M University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 20170119-001.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 19 Jan 2017
Handle: RePEc:txm:wpaper:20170119-001
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  1. 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.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846.
    • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Lazzarini, S. G. & Madalozzo, R. C & Artes, R. & Siqueira, J. O., 2004. "Measuring trust: An experiment in Brazil," Insper Working Papers wpe_42, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
  4. Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Mahmud, Minhaj & Martinsson, Peter, 2013. "Trust, trust games and stated trust: Evidence from rural Bangladesh," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 286-298.
  5. Ciriolo, Emanuele, 2007. "Inequity aversion and trustees' reciprocity in the trust game," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 1007-1024, December.
  6. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Johnson, Noel D. & Mislin, Alexandra A., 2011. "Trust games: A meta-analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 865-889.
  8. Emanuele Ciriolo, 2007. "Inequity aversion and trustees' reciprocity in the trust game," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/176651, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  9. Xiao, Erte & Bicchieri, Cristina, 2010. "When equality trumps reciprocity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 456-470, June.
  10. Johnson, Noel D. & Mislin, Alexandra, 2012. "How much should we trust the World Values Survey trust question?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 210-212.
  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.
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