Age and the Development of Trust and Reciprocity

37 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2004

See all articles by Matthias Sutter

Matthias Sutter

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Cologne - Department of Economics

Martin G. Kocher

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich - Faculty of Economics; Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) - Department of Economics & Finance; Göteborg University - School of Business, Economics and Law; Queensland University of Technology - School of Economics and Finance

Date Written: December 2003

Abstract

We examine the degree of trust and reciprocity in an experimental trust game with 662 participants from six different age groups, ranging from 8 year old primary school children to retired persons in their late sixties. Although both trust and reciprocity have been identified as fundamental pillars for smooth and efficient economic interactions, economic research has devoted surprisingly little attention to their development with age. Our results provide clear evidence that trust in anonymous partners increases almost linearly from early childhood to early adulthood, but stays constant afterwards. Reciprocity prevails in all age groups, although its degree also seems to increase with age.

Keywords: Trust, reciprocity, age, development, experiment

JEL Classification: C72, C91

Suggested Citation

Sutter, Matthias and Kocher, Martin G., Age and the Development of Trust and Reciprocity (December 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=480184 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.480184

Matthias Sutter

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany

University of Cologne - Department of Economics

Cologne, 50923
Germany

Martin G. Kocher (Contact Author)

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Ludwigstrasse 28
Munich, D-80539
Germany

Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) - Department of Economics & Finance ( email )

Stumpergasse 56
A-1060 Vienna, A-1060
Austria

Göteborg University - School of Business, Economics and Law ( email )

Vasagatan 1
Goteborg, 40530
Sweden

Queensland University of Technology - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

GPO Box 2434
2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4001
Australia

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