'Sentiments,' Conduct, and Trust in the Laboratory

Forthcoming, Social Philosophy and Policy 34, 2017

34 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2015 Last revised: 8 May 2017

See all articles by Vernon L. Smith

Vernon L. Smith

Chapman University - Economic Science Institute; Chapman University School of Law

Bart J. Wilson

Chapman University - Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy; Chapman University - Economic Science Institute (ESI); Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Date Written: September 3, 2015

Abstract

In this article we provide a brief account and interpretation of The Theory of Moral Sentiments showing that it departs fundamentally from contemporary patterns of thought in economics that are believed to govern individual behavior in small groups, and contains strong testable propositions governing the expression of that behavior. We also state a formal representation of the model for individual choice of action, apply the propositions to the prediction of actions in trust games, report two experiments testing these predictions, and interpret the results in terms directly related to the model. In short, we argue that the system of sociability developed by Adam Smith provides a coherent non-utilitarian model that is consistent with the pattern of results in trust games, and leads to testable new predictions, some of which we test.

Keywords: Adam Smith, experimental economics, trust, conduct, beneficence, justice

JEL Classification: B12, C92, D63

Suggested Citation

Smith, Vernon L. and Wilson, Bart J., 'Sentiments,' Conduct, and Trust in the Laboratory (September 3, 2015). Forthcoming, Social Philosophy and Policy 34, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2655831 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2655831

Vernon L. Smith

Chapman University - Economic Science Institute ( email )

One University Dr.
Orange, CA 92866
United States
714-628-2830 (Phone)

Chapman University School of Law ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866-1099
United States

Bart J. Wilson (Contact Author)

Chapman University - Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
United States
(714) 628-7306 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www1.chapman.edu/~bjwilson/

Chapman University - Economic Science Institute (ESI) ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
United States
(714) 628-7306 (Phone)

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866-1099
United States
(714) 628-7306 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www1.chapman.edu/~bjwilson/

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