Trusted and expected trustworthiness: an experimental investigation

Trusted and expected trustworthiness: an experimental investigation

Trust is higher where greater trustworthiness is expected

An economic experiment involving separate sessions in 24 small, tightly knit communities reveals that trust is higher where greater trustworthiness is expected and lower variance in levels of trustworthiness is perceived. A model in which potential trusters behaviour is likened to a risky investment explains nearly fifty percent of the variation in their behaviour between communities. The predicted relationships continue to exist following the introduction of an additional, important variable relating to resettlement into the model, although the precise forms of the relationships vary between different types of community. The 24 communities are all Zimbabwean, 18 resettled and 6 not.

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