The Cultural Transmission of Trust Norms: Evidence from a Lab in the Field on a Natural Experiment

57 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2017 Last revised: 21 Aug 2017

See all articles by Elira Karaja

Elira Karaja

University of California, Berkeley

Jared Rubin

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics

Date Written: August 20, 2017

Abstract

We conduct trust games in three villages in a northeastern Romanian commune. From 1775-1919, these villages were arbitrarily assigned to opposite sides of the Habsburg and Ottoman/Russian border despite being located seven kilometers apart. All three empires were ruled by outsiders to Romania, with Russian and Ottoman fiscal institutions being more rapacious. We conjecture that this history contributed to a culture of mistrust of outsiders (relative to co-villagers). Our design permits us to test this conjecture, and more generally, whether historically-derived cultural norms are transmitted intergenerationally. We find that participants on the Ottoman/Russian side that also have family roots in the village are indeed less likely to trust outsiders but more likely to trust co-villagers.

Keywords: trust, trust game, culture, cultural transmission, natural experiment, field experiment, laboratory experiment, norms, Romania, Austria, Ottoman Empire, Habsburg Empire

JEL Classification: C91, C93, N33, O17, Z1

Suggested Citation

Karaja, Elira and Rubin, Jared, The Cultural Transmission of Trust Norms: Evidence from a Lab in the Field on a Natural Experiment (August 20, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2954336 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2954336

Elira Karaja

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

Economics 530 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3
United States

Jared Rubin (Contact Author)

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.jaredcrubin.com

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