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Trust and Trustworthiness of Immigrants and Native-Born Americans

James Cox () and Wafa Orman ()

No 2015-03, Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series from Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University

Abstract: Trust and trustworthiness are crucial to amelioration of social dilemmas. Distrust and malevolence aggravate social dilemmas. We use an experimental moonlighting game with a sample of the U.S. population, oversampling immigrants, to observe interactions between immigrants and native-born Americans in a social dilemma situation that can elicit both benevolent and malevolent actions. We survey participants in order to relate outcomes in the moonlighting game to demographic characteristics and traditional, survey-based measures of trust and trustworthiness and show that they are strongly correlated. Overall, we find that immigrants are as trusting as native-born U.S. citizens when they interact with native-born citizens but do not trust other immigrants. Immigrants appear to be less trustworthy overall but this finding disappears when we control for demographic variables. Women and older people are less likely to trust but no more or less trustworthy. Highly religious immigrants are less trusting and less trustworthy than both other immigrants and native-born Americans.

Keywords: experiment; trust; trustworthiness; religiosity; immigrants; native-born (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 26
Date: 2015-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp, nep-mig and nep-soc
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