Theory and Decision

, Volume 63, Issue 4, pp 349–388 | Cite as

The Self-Fulfilling Property of Trust: An Experimental Study

  • Michael Bacharach
  • Gerardo Guerra
  • Daniel John Zizzo


A person is said to be ‘trust responsive’ if she fulfils trust because she believes the truster trusts her. The experiment we report was designed to test for trust responsiveness and its robustness across payoff structures, and to discriminate it from other possible factors making for trustworthiness, including perceived kindness, perceived need and inequality aversion. We elicit the truster’s confidence that the trustee will fulfil, and the trustee’s belief about the truster’s confidence after the trustee receives evidence relevant to this. We find evidence of strong trust responsiveness. We also find that perceptions of kindness and of need increase trust responsiveness, and that they do so only in conjunction with trust responsiveness.


trust trust responsiveness kindness need to trust belief elicitation 

JEL Classification Codes

C72 C92 D84 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Bacharach
    • 1
  • Gerardo Guerra
    • 2
    • 3
  • Daniel John Zizzo
    • 4
  1. 1.BREB Research Unit, Department of EconomicsUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Wolfson CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  3. 3.UDEM Graduate School of BusinessUniversity of MonterreyMonterreyMexico
  4. 4.School of EconomicsUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

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