Trustworthy by Convention

Quaderni DSE Working Paper No. 827

31 Pages Posted: 14 May 2012  

Maria Bigoni

University of Bologna - Department of Economics

Stefania Bortolotti

University of Cologne - Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences; University of Bologna - Department of Economics

Marco Casari

University of Bologna - Department of Economics

Diego Gambetta

University of Oxford

Date Written: May 14, 2012

Abstract

Social life offers innumerable instances in which trust relations involve multiple agents. In an experiment, we study a new setting called Collective Trust Game where there are multiple trustees, who may have an incentive to coordinate their actions. Trustworthiness has also a strategic motivation, and the trusters' decision depends upon their beliefs about the predominant convention with regard to trustworthiness. In this respect, the Collective Trust Games offers a richer pattern of behavior than dyadic games. We report that the levels of trustworthiness are almost thirty percentage points higher when strategic motivations are present rather than not. Higher levels of trustworthiness also led to higher levels of trust. Moreover, strategic motives appear as a major drive for trustees, comparable in size to positive reciprocity, and more important than concerns for equality.

Keywords: trust game, coordination, inequality aversion, reciprocity, experiments

JEL Classification: C92, C72, D03

Suggested Citation

Bigoni, Maria and Bortolotti, Stefania and Casari, Marco and Gambetta, Diego, Trustworthy by Convention (May 14, 2012). Quaderni DSE Working Paper No. 827. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2057607 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2057607

Maria Bigoni (Contact Author)

University of Bologna - Department of Economics ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, Bologna 40126
Italy
+390512098134 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.unibo.it/sitoweb/maria.bigoni/en

Stefania Bortolotti

University of Cologne - Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences ( email )

Richard-Strauss-Str. 2
Cologne, D-50923
Germany

University of Bologna - Department of Economics ( email )

Strada Maggiore 45
Bologna, 40125
Italy

Marco Casari

University of Bologna - Department of Economics ( email )

Strada Maggiore 45
Bologna, 40125
Italy

Diego Gambetta

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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