Is Trust Self-Fulfilling? An Experimental Study

U of Oxford, Economics Discussion Paper No. 76

55 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2002

See all articles by Gerardo A. Guerra

Gerardo A. Guerra

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

Michael Bacharach

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

Daniel John Zizzo

University of Queensland - School of Economics

Date Written: October 2001

Abstract

A person is said to be 'trust responsive' if she fulfils trust because she believes the truster trusts her. The experiment we report was designed to test for trust responsiveness and its robustness across payoff structures, and to disentangle it from other possible factors making for trustworthiness, including perceived kindness, perceived need, and inequality aversion. We elicit the truster's confidence that the trustee will fulfil, and the trustee's belief about the trusteer's confidence after the trustee receives evidence relevant to this. We find evidence of strong trust responsiveness. We also find that perceptions of kindness and of need increase trust responsiveness, and that perceptions of kindness and need raise fulfilling rates only in conjunction with trust responsiveness.

Keywords: trust game, experiment, trust responsiveness, kindness, need to trust, belief elicitation

JEL Classification: C79, C92, D84

Suggested Citation

Guerra, Gerardo A. and Bacharach, Michael and Zizzo, Daniel John, Is Trust Self-Fulfilling? An Experimental Study (October 2001). U of Oxford, Economics Discussion Paper No. 76, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=333481 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.333481

Gerardo A. Guerra

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

BREB Unit
Manor Road Building, Manor Road
Oxford OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

Michael Bacharach

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom

Daniel John Zizzo (Contact Author)

University of Queensland - School of Economics ( email )

St Lucia
Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia

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