The self-fulfilling property of trust: An experimental study

Michael Bacharach, Gerardo Guerra, David J. Zizzo

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81 Citations (Scopus)


A person is said to be ‘trust responsive’ if she fulfils trust because she believes the truster trusts her. The experiment we report was designed to test for trust responsiveness and its robustness across payoff structures, and to discriminate it from other possible factors making for trustworthiness, including perceived kindness, perceived need and inequality aversion. We elicit the truster’s confidence that the trustee will fulfil, and the trustee’s belief about the truster’s confidence after the trustee receives evidence relevant to this. We find evidence of strong trust responsiveness. We also find that perceptions of kindness and of need increase trust responsiveness, and that they do so only in conjunction with trust responsiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-388
Number of pages40
JournalTheory and Decision
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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