Promises and partnership

Gary Charness, Martin Dufwenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

571 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We examine experimentally the impact of communication on trust and cooperation. Our design admits observation of promises, lies, and beliefs. The evidence is consistent with people striving to live up to others' expectations so as to avoid guilt, as can be modeled using psychological game theory. When players exhibit such guilt aversion, communication may influence motivation and behavior by influencing beliefs about beliefs. Promises may enhance trustworthy behavior, which is what we observe. We argue that guilt aversion may be relevant for understanding strategic interaction in a variety of settings, and that it may shed light on the role of language, discussions, agreements, and social norms in these contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1579-1601
Number of pages23
JournalEconometrica
Volume74
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2006

Fingerprint

guilt
Social Norms
psychological theory
communication
game theory
Game Theory
interaction
language
Interaction
evidence
Beliefs
Partnership
Communication
Guilt aversion

Keywords

  • Behavioral economics
  • Beliefs
  • Guilt aversion
  • Hidden action
  • Lies
  • Partnership
  • Promises
  • Psychological game theory
  • Social preferences
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Promises and partnership. / Charness, Gary; Dufwenberg, Martin.

In: Econometrica, Vol. 74, No. 6, 11.2006, p. 1579-1601.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Charness, Gary ; Dufwenberg, Martin. / Promises and partnership. In: Econometrica. 2006 ; Vol. 74, No. 6. pp. 1579-1601.
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