The boundaries of trust: Own and others' actions in the US and China

Nancy Buchan, Rachel Croson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


This paper examines the boundaries of trust and trustworthiness in the United States and China. In each country we measure how reported trust and trustworthiness change as the social distance to one's partner increases. We also compare the influence of social distance on one's own behavior versus its influence on one's expectations of another's behavior. We find participants in the US to be well-calibrated in this respect; actions and expectations move in similar ways in response to social distance. In China however, individuals report themselves to be more responsive to social distance than they expect others to be.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-504
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Issue number4 SPEC.ISS.
StatePublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Professor Eric Johnson for his help and collaboration on this and our related research along with the participants at the Trust and Institutions Seminar and two anonymous referees for their helpful comments. We also thank the Russell Sage Behavioral Economics Roundtable and the National Science Foundation for financial support. Finally, we thank Professors Bingfu Chen and Barbara Kahn and their graduate assistants for their generous assistance in running the experiments included in this paper.


  • China
  • Expectations
  • Experiment
  • International
  • Trust


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