Status and Distrust: The Relevance of Inequality and Betrayal Aversion

35 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2005

See all articles by Kessely Hong

Kessely Hong

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Iris Bohnet

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: September 29, 2004

Abstract

Trust is related to people's willingness to accept vulnerability, composed of their willingness to accept the risk of being worse off than if they had never trusted, the risk of being worse off than the trusted party, and the risk of being betrayed by the trusted party. We examine how people's status, focusing on sex, race, age and religion, affects their willingness to accept these three risks. We experimentally measure a person's willingness to accept risk in a Decision Problem, a Risky Dictator Game and a Trust Game. Groups typically considered having lower status in the US - women, minorities, younger people and non-Protestants - are averse to inequality while higher status groups - male, white, older and Protestant decision makers - dislike being betrayed. This heterogeneity in motivation asks for different organizational interventions to decrease distrust depending on a group's status.

Keywords: Trust, Status, Risk, Inequality, Betrayal, Laboratory Experiments, Economics - Microeconomics, Leadership/Conflict Management

Suggested Citation

Hong, Kessely and Bohnet, Iris, Status and Distrust: The Relevance of Inequality and Betrayal Aversion (September 29, 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=600642 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.600642

Kessely Hong

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-0459 (Phone)
617-495-4297 (Fax)

Iris Bohnet (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-5605 (Phone)
617-496-5747 (Fax)

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