Which Risk? Which Trust? Cognitive Determinants of Participation in Collective Action.
We are presenting results of an exploratory study aiming at establishing whether these postulated relationships exist. The crux of the study is the fact that both risk attitude and propensity to trust can be measured in many different ways. For example risk attitudes in economic research are measured via series of choices between lotteries, while psychologists and sociologists prefer various questionnaire items. Trust on the other hand can be measured using the traditional general trust items or more specific questions. Not all these measures are equally adequate in the context of collective action. For instance inquiring about subjects’ risky behaviors such as substance abuse, unprotected sex or parachute jumping is not necessarily relevant here. We are therefore raising a question of how to assess trust and risk attitude to predict choices made in public goods dilemma.
Our research is based on a study in which participants were taking part in a PGG and filled in a questionnaire. We find that making decisions is different from thinking about one’s attitudes when it comes to risk and that trust can be estimated surprisingly well using very simple tools. Furthermore, both trust and risk attitude are important determinants of contributions in the experimental game.