Bias, Trust, and Trustworthiness: An Experimental Study of Post Justice System Outcomes

19 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2019 Last revised: 2 Jan 2020

See all articles by Jason Ralston

Jason Ralston

Baylor University

Jason Anthony Aimone

Baylor University - Department of Economics

Charles M. North

Baylor University Department of Economics

Lucas Rentschler

Utah State University - Department of Economics and Finance

Date Written: January 1, 2020

Abstract

The criminal justice system imposes long-term spillover costs for the convicted and acquitted in the form of reduced employment opportunities and high rates of recidivism, possibly a byproduct of poor employment opportunities. This paper examines discriminatory behavior of investors and employers when they are given the opportunity to condition on their trustee’s/worker’s criminal record. Similar to the real world, our experiment shows that employers and investors do exhibit discriminatory behavior toward those with criminal conviction and those with criminal acquittals. However, no basis exists for the statistical discrimination, since reciprocator behavior is found to not depend on criminal record, while true innocence or guilt is found to play a large role in a subject’s reciprocity. While access to true innocence and guiltiness would prove invaluable to investors and employers, this is unobtainable in the real world and equating convictions with true guiltiness is worrisome, given truly innocent subject’s willingness to plead guilty.

Keywords: crime, trust, beliefs, justice

JEL Classification: K40, D90, D91, C91

Suggested Citation

Ralston, Jason and Aimone, Jason Anthony and North, Charles M. and Rentschler, Lucas, Bias, Trust, and Trustworthiness: An Experimental Study of Post Justice System Outcomes (January 1, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3497014 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3497014

Jason Ralston (Contact Author)

Baylor University ( email )

P.O. Box 98003
Waco, TX 76798-8003
United States

Jason Anthony Aimone

Baylor University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 98003
Waco, TX 76798-8003
United States

Charles M. North

Baylor University Department of Economics ( email )

One Bear Place # 98003
Waco, TX 76798-8003
United States

Lucas Rentschler

Utah State University - Department of Economics and Finance ( email )

Logan, UT 84322-1400
United States

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