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When trustors compete for the favour of a trustee - A laboratory experiment

Stefan Bauernschuster, Oliver Falck () and Niels Daniel Große

Munich Reprints in Economics from University of Munich, Department of Economics

Abstract: We experimentally compare standard two-player trust games to three-player trust games, where two trustors compete for one trustee. We argue that a competitive environment could affect how the trustors’ behaviour is perceived by the trustee. If two trustors compete for the favour of a trustee, the trustee might find it difficult to interpret the trustors’ investments as kind since they could as well be the outcome of a competitive race; this could negatively affect the trustee’s returned amount. We allow for heterogeneous effects of competition for strangers and artificially induced partners. The results of our one-shot trust games show that introducing competition among trustors reduces return ratios of the trustee. We do not find any evidence for statistically different effects of competition for partners and strangers.

Date: 2013
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Published in Journal of Economic Psychology 34(2013): pp. 133-147

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