Positive reciprocity and intentions in trust games

Kevin A. McCabe, Mary L. Rigdon, Vernon L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

315 Scopus citations


Several recent theories in behavioral game theory seek to explain the behavior of subjects in experimental bargaining games. These models can be partitioned into two classes: outcome-based and intention-based. Outcome-based models treat the intentions that players attribute to one another as unnecessary for predicting behavior. Intention-based approaches, and in particular the trust and reciprocity (TR) hypothesis, rely on this attribution of intentions in an essential way. We report laboratory data from simple two-person trust games which is inconsistent with outcome-based models, but predicted by the trust and reciprocity hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-275
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Bargaining
  • Intentions
  • Reciprocity
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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