Trust and Risk Revisited

39 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2014 Last revised: 13 Dec 2016

See all articles by Kim Fairley

Kim Fairley

Leiden University - Department of Economics

Alan G. Sanfey

University of Arizona

Jana Vyrastekova

Radboud University Nijmegen - Department of Economics

Utz Weitzel

VU University Amsterdam; Tinbergen Institute; Radboud University

Date Written: November 14, 2014


A trustor faces a risky choice in the trust game when he acts upon his belief regarding the chances of betrayal by the trustee. Despite intensive research there is no clear evidence for a link between lottery risk preferences and risk involved in trusting others. We argue that this is due to crucial differences between the risk measurements in the two settings. Trusting is giving up control to a human while lottery risk arises from a mechanistic randomization device. We propose a risky trust game that experimentally measures risk in the same context as the standard trust game, but nevertheless reduces the trust decision to objective risk. Our results show that transfers in the trust game can indeed be explained by individual risk attitudes elicited with the risky trust game, while lottery risk preferences have no explanatory power.

Keywords: Trust, trust game, decision making under uncertainty, risk, ambiguity, sources of uncertainty

JEL Classification: C07, C09, D08

Suggested Citation

Fairley, Kim and Sanfey, Alan G. and Vyrastekova, Jana and Weitzel, Utz, Trust and Risk Revisited (November 14, 2014). Journal of Economic Psychology, Vol. 57, 2016, Available at SSRN: or

Kim Fairley (Contact Author)

Leiden University - Department of Economics ( email )


Alan G. Sanfey

University of Arizona ( email )

Department of History
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States

Jana Vyrastekova

Radboud University Nijmegen - Department of Economics ( email )

Nijmegen, 6500 HK

Utz Weitzel

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Gustav Mahlerplein 117
Amsterdam, 1082 MS

Radboud University ( email )

Heyendaalseweg 141
Nijmegen, 6525 AJ

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