Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 15 > Issue 3

Political Identity and Trust

Pablo Hernández-Lagos, New York University Abu Dhabi, Division of Social Sciences, UAE, pablo.hernandez@nyu.edu , Dylan Minor, University of California Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management, USA, dylan.minor@anderson.ucla.edu
Suggested Citation
Pablo Hernández-Lagos and Dylan Minor (2020), "Political Identity and Trust", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 15: No. 3, pp 337-367. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00018063

Publication Date: 06 Jul 2020
© 2020 P. Hernández-Lagos and D. Minor
Public economics,  Economic theory,  Behavioral decision making,  American political development,  Game theory,  Political economy,  Political parties,  Political psychology,  Uncertainty,  Principal-agent
Trustbeliefspolitical identitypolarization


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In this article:
Experimental Design 


We explore how political identity affects trust. In particular, we examine the extent to which political identity and objective information shape perceptions about others' trustworthiness. Using an incentivized experimental survey over a sample of the general US population, we vary information about partners' political identity to elicit trust behavior, beliefs about others' trustworthiness, and actual reciprocation. We find that beliefs depend on the political identity of the partner, but they are not always biased against out-groups. This suggests that the cross-party antagonism found in the literature does not necessarily translate into pessimism over what out-groups would do. We also find that people believe others are much less trustworthy than they actually prove to be. We then attempt to correct beliefs by disclosing historical trustworthiness. Subjects' beliefs shift only slightly, suggesting that incorrect stereotypes are difficult to correct.