Guilt averse or reciprocal? Looking at behavioral motivations in the trust game

  • Yola Engler
  • Rudolf Kerschbamer
  • Lionel PageEmail author
Original Paper


For the trust game, recent models of belief-dependent motivations make opposite predictions regarding the correlation between back transfers and second-order beliefs of the trustor: while reciprocity models predict a negative correlation, guilt-aversion models predict a positive one. This paper tests the hypothesis that the inconclusive results in the previous studies investigating the reaction of trustees to their beliefs are due to the fact that reciprocity and guilt aversion are behaviorally relevant for different subgroups and that their impact cancels out in the aggregate. We find little evidence in support of this hypothesis and conclude that type heterogeneity is unlikely to explain previous results.


Behavioral game theory Experiment Intention based preferences 

JEL Classification

C25 C70 C91 D63 D64 

Supplementary material

40881_2018_51_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (735 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 735 KB)


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economics and FinanceQueensland University of Technology and QuBEBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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