A Multi-agent Model of Deceit and Trust in Intercultural Trade
Trust is a sine qua non for trade. According to transaction cost economics, a contract always offers some opportunity to defect. In the case of asymmetric product information, where the seller is better informed about product quality than the buyer is, the buyer either has to rely on information provided by the seller or has to check the information by testing the product or tracing the supply chain processes, thus incurring extra transaction cost. An opportunistic seller who assumes the buyer to trust, may deliver a lower quality product than agreed upon. In human decisions to deceive and to show trust or distrust toward business partners, issues like morality, shame, self-esteem, and reputation are involved. These factors depend strongly on trader’s cultural background. This paper develops an agent model of deceit and trust and describes a multi-agent simulation where trading agents are differentiated according to Hofstede’s dimensions of national culture.
Keywordstrust and reputation management deceit negotiation trade partner selection culture
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