Trustworthiness As Rational Belief or Unconditional Propensity to Trust – Evidence from a Telephone Survey

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:30 AM
Room: Booth 69
Oral Presentation
Robert NEUMANN , Institute for Sociology, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany
While research on trust and trusting behavior is abundant, less attention has been paid to the study of trustworthiness itself. This seems to be at least a bit surprising, especially with regards to the theoretical claims about trustworthiness as „the crucial variable“ (Hardin 2001) for understanding and explaining successful cooperation based on trust. While several authors share the definition of trustworthiness as a belief, a probability assessment or an expectancy of Person A about Person B to do X, distinct measurement approaches exist depending on the mode of data collection (survey vs. experimental approach) and strategic outset of the study (one-shot vs. sequential games). Additionally, different hypotheses can be derived depending on whether one treats trustworthiness as incentive based or as an unconditional propensity to exhibit trustworthiness. Hypotheses were tested with pooled data from two CATI survey (n=706) conducted in Germany in June 2012 and January 2013. Using the techniques of both response latency measurement and Cox regression models we are able to conclude that measurement of trustworthiness either lack convergent validity or are subject to theoretical deficiencies. Consequences for future research are discussed.