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Une comparaison franco-allemande de la confiance et de la réciprocité. Une expérimentation fondée sur le jeu de l'investissement

Marc Willinger (), Christopher Lohmann and Jean-Claude Usunier

Revue d'économie politique, 2001, vol. 111, issue 1, 151-172

Abstract: We compare the results of a one-period investment game proposed by Berg et al. [1995] in the respective contexts of France and Germany. The investment game is a two-player two-stage game with a unique subgame perfect equilibrium. Before the game starts, each player is endowed with 10 Euros. At stage 1, player A can send between 0 and 10 Euros to player B, who receives three times the amount sent by player A. At stage 2, player B must decide how many Euros he wishes to send back to player A. The subgame perfect equilibrium consists for player B in sending nothing to player A and, for player A, who anticipates that move, in sending nothing to player B. We observed decisions made by 30 pairs of subjects in France and 30 pairs of subjects in Germany. The average investment amounts to 4,2 Euros in France as opposed to 6,6 Euros in Germany. The difference is significant at the 1% level. In the two countries, players B have significantly made more than players A. However, German players B have earned significantly more than French players B. This is mainly due to the fact that the level of reciprocity has emerged in Germany as the same as in France (40% on average] despite higher investment levels in Germany. Consequently, higher investment levels in Germany have been profitable essentially for players B. These results empirically support the conjecture by Fukuyama according to which the level of trust is higher in countries like Germany (or the United States) than in countries like France (or Italy), which could explain a higher level of economic performance. However, our results also show that the increase in income resulting from the higher level of trust is shared in an inequitable way in Germany as well as in France and accrues primarily to players Bs’ gains.

Keywords: investment game; trust; reciprocity; intercultural comparisons; economic growth; fairness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2001
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