SFB 303 Discussion Paper No. B - 439

Author: Fahr, René, and Bernd Irlenbusch
Title: Fairness as a Constraint on Trust in Reciprocity An Experimental Observation
Abstract: We describe three different treatments of a one-shot trust experiment in which we vary the outcome considered to be fair by inducing different entitlements. Subjects obtain property rights by performing a real effort, non-competitive working task. As expected, we find that the Trustees reciprocate significantly more the more the Trustors are entitled. However, our results unambiguously refute strategic reliance of the Trustors on the reciprocal behavior of the Trustees. Instead, the Trustors tend to aim at unilaterally implementing a fair outcome. Thus our observations provide strong evidence that the fairness norm is much more decisive than trust in the norm of reciprocity.
Keywords: fairness, trust, reciprocity, property rights, entitlement, social norms, real effort, experiments
JEL-Classification-Number: C70, C78, C91, D63
Creation-Date: October 1998
URL: ../1998/b/bonnsfb439.pdf

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