Playing both roles in the trust game

Stephen V. Burks, Jeffrey P. Carpenter, Eric Verhoogen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    127 Scopus citations


    This paper examines the effect of subjects playing both roles in a trust game. We compare two information treatments to our replication of the single-role trust game. The treatments alter the point at which participants are told they will play both roles. We find that playing both roles reduces both trust and reciprocity. We also explore relationships between demographic and personality characteristics and decisions in the game. We find that a social-psychological measure of Machiavellian behavior predicts distrust but not a lack of trustworthiness, and that non-white participants trust less in a predominantly white environment, but are no less trustworthy.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)195-216
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Jun 1 2003

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    We thank Mike Belzer and Corinna Noelke for their help in running the experiments, Laura Burks for data assistance, Sam Bowles, Ernst Fehr, Herb Gintis, George Akerlof and Matthew Rabin for helpful conversations, and Martin Dufwenberg, Rachel Croson, Nat Wilcox, an anonymous referee, and participants at the 2000 Economic Science Association meeting for helpful comments. This research is funded by MacArthur Foundation’s Norms and Preferences Network. Additionally, Carpenter acknowledges the support of the National Science Foundation (SES-CAREER 0092953) and Verhoogen the support of the MacArthur Research Network on the Costs of Inequality.


    • Experiment
    • Machiavelli
    • Norm
    • Reciprocity
    • Trust


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