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Sacha Bourgeois-gironde and Anne Corcos
''Discriminating strategic reciprocity and acquired trust in the repeated trust-game''
( 2011, Vol. 31 No.1 )
In repeated trust-game offers made by investors can be attributed to strategic reciprocation-based behavior. However, when a trustee is loyal, personal trust can build up between players, in the same way that lack of positive reciprocation on the part of trustees can motivate investors' distrust. Acquired personal trust or distrust and strategic reciprocation of the opponent's offers have then a cumulative and convergent influence on behavior in the trust game and are not prima facie distinguishable. We propose an experimental protocol which discriminates between these two determinants of trust. We furthermore show that acquired trust is the mere outcome of anonymous repeated interactions taking place during the experiment in the sense that it does not co-vary with an initial and independent baseline disposition to trust among investors: acquired trust crowds out background trust. Moreover, offers are sensitive to the amount and variance of trustees' returns. High returns-rate contribute to increase acquired trust between the players while the volatility of trustees' counter-offers makes them perceive as opportunistic, triggers investors' strategic behavior and detriments the acquisition of personal trust.
Keywords: repeated trust-game, reputation, strategic reciprocation.
JEL: C9 - Design of Experiments: General
Manuscript Received : Sep 02 2010 Manuscript Accepted : Jan 07 2011

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