Does Trust Beget Trustworthiness

Tuesday, January 1, 1980

Kiyonari, Toko, Toshio Yamaigishi, Karen S. Cook, Coye Cheshire. 2004. Does Trust Beget Trustworthiness? Trust and Trustworthiness in Two Games and Two Cultures: A Research Note

Abstract: An important unanswered question in the empirical literature on trust is whether trusting begets trustworthiness. In two experimental games, with Japanese and American participants, trust and trustworthiness were compared to provide an answer to this question. The trustee in the standard Trust Game knows that she is trusted, whereas the trustee in the Faith Game does not know whether she is trusted or not. Except for this fact, the trustee faces the same choice in both situations. If the simple fact that one is trusted by someone else makes her more trustworthy to the truster, then the trustee in the Trust Game should behave in a more trustworthy manner. The results of our experiment indicate that trust does not beget trustworthiness, at least in one-shot games. The results also indicate that trust and trustworthiness are not two sides of the same coin, providing a partial replication of the recent findings of Buchan, Croson, and Dawes (2002). American trusters were more trusting than their Japanese counterparts in the Trust Game, whereas American trustees were less trustworthy than were the Japanese under the same circumstances. The nationality difference in trust and trustworthiness is less pronounced in the Faith Game. We conclude that trust researchers should consider the limitations of one-shot games for the study of the emergence of trust and the determinants of trustworthiness.