Trust and Promises over Time

American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, forthcoming

32 Pages Posted: 10 May 2018 Last revised: 13 Apr 2020

See all articles by Florian Ederer

Florian Ederer

Yale School of Management; Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Frédéric Schneider

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 30, 2019


Using a large-scale hybrid laboratory and online trust experiment with and without pre-play communication, we investigate how the passage of time affects trust, trustworthiness, and cooperation. Communication (predominantly through promises) raises cooperation, trust, and trustworthiness by about 50 percent. This result holds even when three weeks pass between the time of the trustee's message/the trustor's decision to trust and the time of the trustee's contribution choice and even when this contribution choice is made outside of the lab. Delay between the beginning of the interaction and the time to reciprocate neither substantially alters trust or trustworthiness nor affects how subjects communicate.

Keywords: trust, promises, persistence, trustworthiness, delay

JEL Classification: C91, C72, D83, D64, A13, K12

Suggested Citation

Ederer, Florian and Schneider, Frédéric, Trust and Promises over Time (May 30, 2019). American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Florian Ederer (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

165 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
United States


Yale University - Cowles Foundation ( email )

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Frédéric Schneider

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School ( email )

Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom

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