A Cross-Cultural Multi-agent Model of Opportunism in Trade

  • Gert Jan Hofstede
  • Catholijn M. Jonker
  • Tim Verwaart
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6450)


According to transaction cost economics, contracts are always incomplete and offer opportunities to defect. Some level of trust is a sine qua non for trade. If the seller is better informed about product quality than the buyer, the buyer has to rely on information the seller provides 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, issues like mutual expectations, shame, self-esteem, personality, and reputation are involved. These factors depend in part on traders’ cultural background. This paper proposes 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. Simulations of USA and Dutch trading situations are compared.


trust and reputation management deceit negotiation trade partner selection culture 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gert Jan Hofstede
    • 1
    • 2
  • Catholijn M. Jonker
    • 2
  • Tim Verwaart
    • 3
  1. 1.Wageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Delft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  3. 3.LEI Wageningen URDen HaagThe Netherlands

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