The economics of trust

Like the biology of happiness and perspective-taking, the economics of trust is another of those cross-over studies with an important human dimension. How important? Quoting from a Tim Harford column in Forbes, Jonah Lehrer blogs that trust could be "responsible for the difference between the richest countries and the poorest".

Recalling a study that recorded the brain activity of subjects playing an economic game that rewarded trust, Lehrer points out that based on the results of the game, trust is also an observed mental calculation, "an expectation of reward" rooted in areas of the brain that, not coincidentally, play a role in addiction and the anticipation of pleasure. The bottom line: it's rewards, not glib economic or policy promises, that build trust.

And this: past performance is no guarantee of future results.