Estimating the Determinants of Trust Using Online Field Experiments
2017 CSS Fellowship
The question of what makes people trust each other has renewed its importance in the era of the sharing economy. A number of recent research studies have shown that despite claims that the sharing economy can promote trust between individuals in society, the fact is anti-social behaviors such as discrimination are still widely experienced by certain groups of individuals on platforms like Airbnb and Uber. These revelations have revitalized long-standing research questions on trust. Namely, what causes feelings of trust and trustworthiness between individuals –particularly strangers –and what sort of structures can be implemented to engender a greater sense of generalized trust? The goal of this project is to use computationally-oriented experimental methods that can leverage new sources of data available online by conducting a set of online field experiments using subjects recruited from a large population of users both from within in the sharing economy as well as the general population. For part of the project, Will is collaborating with the online travel service kimkim as part of an effort to engineer trust between its users.