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Nonverbal content and swift trust: An experiment on digital communication

Zakaria Babutsidze, Nobuyuki Hanaki () and Adam Zylbersztejn
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Adam Zylbersztejn: Univ Lyon, Université Lyon 2, GATE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France

No 2008, Working Papers from Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon

Abstract: We experimentally study the effect of the mode of digital communication on the emergence of swift trust in a principal-agent relationship. We consider three modes of communication that differ in the capacity to transmit nonverbal content: plain text, audio, and video. Communication is pre-play, one-way, and unrestricted, but its verbal content is homogenized across treatments. Overall, both audio and video messages have a positive (and similar) effect on trust as compared to plain text; however, the magnitude of these effects depends on the verbal content of agent's message (promise to act trustworthily vs. no such promise). In all conditions, we observe a positive effect of the agent's promise on the principal's trust. We also report that trust in female principals is sensitive to the availability of nonverbal cues about interaction partners.

Keywords: Digital communication; Trust; Hidden action; Nonverbal content; Principal-agent relationship; Promises (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 D83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp and nep-ict
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