The Persistent Power of Promises
26 Pages Posted: 10 May 2018 Last revised: 2 Jun 2019
Date Written: May 30, 2019
Using a large-scale hybrid laboratory and online trust experiment with pre-play communication this paper investigates how the passage of time affects trust, trustworthiness, and cooperation. We provide evidence for the persistent power of communication. Even when three weeks pass between messages and actual choices and even when these choices are made outside of the lab, communication (predominantly through the use of promises) raises cooperation, trust, and trustworthiness by about 50 percent. Delays between the beginning of the interaction and the time to reciprocate neither substantially alter trust or trustworthiness nor affect how subjects choose to communicate.
Keywords: trust, promises, persistence, trustworthiness, delay
JEL Classification: C91, C72, D83, D64, A13, K12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation