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Bauernschuster, Stefan; Falck, Oliver; Große, Niels Daniel (2010): Can competition spoil reciprocity? A laboratory experiment. CESifo Working Paper, 2923
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Abstract

This paper investigates how group membership and competition among trustors interact with trust and trustworthiness in a laboratory one-shot trust game. To analyze these effects, we apply a 2x2 design. We induce group membership by letting subjects play coordination games with clear focal points, leading to higher investments and trustworthiness. Introducing competition leads to a decrease in trustworthiness, especially among partners. We argue that once competition comes into play, trustees perceive trustors’ investments as the outcomes of a competitive bidding process rather than good intentions, which reduces reciprocity.