Trust and Trustworthiness between Cooperators and Non-Cooperators in Public Good Provision: Evidence from an Artefactual Field Experiment in Ethiopia (revision of CentER DP 2017-030)

Rahel Jigi Kitessa

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The standard economic theory predicts that collective action problem arises because the selfish agents have no incentive to contribute to public goods. However, as revealed by numerous empirical and experimental findings, a substantial share of mankind is willing to contribute to public goods. Ostrom (2000) revised collective action theory predicts that as time passes with proper social norm (institutions) in place, and with information about the types of the agent provided, the share of cooperators in the population will increase, and selfish agents may even disappear from the population. Cooperative agents are trusted more, and hence agents are more likely to be willing to enter in mutually beneficial bilateral exchanges with cooperative agents than with selfish ones. I test this hypothesis in a setting that let participants who are members of collaborative forest management (CFM), and non- members (non-CFM) to play a trust game. Using this experiment, the findings of my study support the hypothesis that higher trust is placed on the cooperators than non-cooperators. Therefore, the cooperator type receives more money, but sends and returns less to non-cooperators which allow the cooperator type to receive consistently higher payoff.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherCentER, Center for Economic Research
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper



  • collective action
  • trust and trustworthiness
  • field experiment
  • forestry
  • public goods

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