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Journal Articles Journal of Evolutionary Economics Year : 2012

Learning to trust strangers: an evolutionary perspective


What if living in a relatively trustworthy society was sufficient to blindly trust strangers? In this paper we interpret generalized trust as a learning process and analyse the trust game paradox in light of the replicator dynamics. Given that trust inevitably implies doubts about others, we assume incomplete information and study the dynamics of trust in buyer-supplier purchase transactions. Considering a world made of "good" and "bad" suppliers, we show that the trust game admits a unique evolutionarily stable strategy: buyers may trust strangers if it is not too risky to do so. Examining the situation where some players may play either as trustor or as trustee we show that this result is robust.

Dates and versions

hal-00715459 , version 1 (07-07-2012)



Pierre Courtois, Tarik Tazdaït. Learning to trust strangers: an evolutionary perspective. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 2012, 22 (2), pp.367-383. ⟨10.1007/s00191-011-0247-z⟩. ⟨hal-00715459⟩
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