Who Trusts Strangers? Findings and Implications from Behavioral Trust Experiments
30 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2008
Date Written: 2007
High levels of general trust are critical to economic growth and the integration of firms into new markets, but what factors influence the willingness to trust strangers? I examine the circumstances under which individuals across different societies are willing to trust in anonymous counterparts by aggregating and systematically analyzing a widely employed and replicated behavioral measure of trust - the Berg, Dickhaut and McCabe (1995) trust game experiments. Findings indicate that situational factors such as the relative value of what is at stake, the relative well-being of the exchange counterpart, as well as broader institutional factors including levels of government corruption influence a the willingness to trust in anonymous others.
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