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More about economic and non-economic determinants of (mutual) trust and trustworthiness


  • Sell, Friedrich L.


The aim of this paper is threefold: we first discuss the appropriateness of the traditional trust-game-tree for the analysis of trust relationships. Following the definition put forward by Lee et al. (2005) that confident expectations and a willingness to be vulnerable are critical components of all definitions of trust, we relate these criteria to the subjective probabilities given by Coleman's inequality. Then, we develop the trust-tree-game further to a psychological trust game in the vein of Dufwenberg (2002). Here, we complement the concept of trust responsiveness with the idea of honouring trust responsiveness which enables us to consider the issue of mutuality in trustrelationships. In a second step, we move on to the concept of mutual trust (which is more than some degree of mutuality in a trust relationship), where each individual can be both trustor and trustee. This aspect is visualized within the two-person optimal intertemporal consumption choice model.The corresponding creditor-debtor-game reproduces the well known prisoner's dilemma. In a third step we analyse in depth how the intertemporal elasticity of substitution is related to trust and trust worthiness in (inter)national credit contracts. The fact that we observe multiple creditor-debtor-relationships in an economy seems to reflect not only the gains from cooperation in repeated games, but also the existence of generalized trust in the society.

Suggested Citation

  • Sell, Friedrich L., 2007. "More about economic and non-economic determinants of (mutual) trust and trustworthiness," Working Papers in Economics 2007,2, Bundeswehr University Munich, Economic Research Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ubwwpe:20072

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Friedrich L. Sell & Marcus Wiens, 2006. "Vertrauen: Substitut oder Komplement zu formellen Institutionen?," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 126(4), pages 605-633.
    2. Jochem, Axel, 2000. "Timing and sequenzing der monetären Integration," Working Papers in Economics 2000,2, Bundeswehr University Munich, Economic Research Group.
    3. Bandulet, Martin & Morasch, Karl, 2002. "Electronic coordination in oligopolistic markets: Impact on transport costs and product differentiation," Working Papers in Economics 2002,4, Bundeswehr University Munich, Economic Research Group.
    4. Jochem, Axel, 1999. "Währungspolitische Interdependenz der EU-Beitrittskandidaten und die Wahl eines geeigneten Wechselkurssystems," Working Papers in Economics 1999,5, Bundeswehr University Munich, Economic Research Group.
    5. Bartholomae Florian & Morasch Karl, 2007. "Oil Price Indexing Of Natural Gas Prices: An Economic Analysis," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 58(3), pages 250-264, December.
    6. Bartholomae, Florian W., 2006. "Trade And Pension Systems," Working Papers in Economics 2006,1, Bundeswehr University Munich, Economic Research Group.
    7. Guerra, Gerardo & John Zizzo, Daniel, 2004. "Trust responsiveness and beliefs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 25-30, September.
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    More about this item


    trust; psychological game theory; intertemporal consumption;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D69 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Other
    • K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law


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