Does upward mobility harm trust?

By: Rémi Suchon (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne – Groupe d’analyse et de théorie économique – ENS Lyon – École normale supérieure – Lyon – UL2 – Université Lumière – Lyon 2 – UCBL – Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 – Université de Lyon – UJM – Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] – Université de Lyon – CNRS – Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Marie Claire Villeval (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne – Groupe d’analyse et de théorie économique – ENS Lyon – École normale supérieure – Lyon – UL2 – Université Lumière – Lyon 2 – UCBL – Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 – Université de Lyon – UJM – Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] – Université de Lyon – CNRS – Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
Abstract: While considered as appealing for positive and normative reasons, anecdotal evidence suggests that upward social mobility may harm interpersonal interactions. We report on an experiment testing the effect of upward social mobility on interpersonal trust. Individuals are characterized both by a natural group identity and by a status awarded by means of relative performance in a task in which natural identities strongly predict performance. Upward mobility is characterized by the access to the high status of individuals belonging to the natural group associated with a lower expected performance. We find that socially mobile individuals trust less than those who are not socially mobile, especially when the trustee belongs to the same natural group. In contrast, upward mobility does not affect trustworthiness. We find no evidence that interacting with an upwardly mobile individual impacts trust or trustworthiness.
Keywords: experiment, social identity, trustworthiness, social mobility,Trust
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-01687271&r=ltv
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