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Building Trust—One Gift at a Time

New Zealand Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics and Finance, University of Canterbury, Private Bag, Christchurch 4800, New Zealand
Centro de Investigación Económica, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, Mexico City 10700, Mexico
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Games 2011, 2(4), 412-433;
Received: 13 May 2011 / Revised: 26 August 2011 / Accepted: 13 September 2011 / Published: 27 September 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fairness in Games)
PDF [391 KB, uploaded 29 September 2011]


This paper reports an experiment evaluating the effect of gift giving on building trust. We have nested our explorations in the standard version of the investment game. Our gift treatment includes a dictator stage in which the trustee decides whether to give a gift to the trustor before both of them proceed to play the investment game. We observe that in such case the majority of trustees offer their endowment to trustors. Consequently, receiving a gift significantly increases the amounts sent by trustors when controlling for the differences in payoffs created by it. Trustees are, however, not better off by giving a gift as the increase in the amount sent by trustors is not large enough to offset the trustees’ loss associated with the cost of giving a gift. View Full-Text
Keywords: experimental economics; gift giving; investment game; trust; trustworthiness experimental economics; gift giving; investment game; trust; trustworthiness
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Servátka, M.; Tucker, S.; Vadovič, R. Building Trust—One Gift at a Time. Games 2011, 2, 412-433.

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