Status and Trust in Representative Leaders:  A Lab-in-the-Field Experiment

“Status and Trust in Representative Leaders:  A Lab-in-the-Field Experiment,” Nor Izzatina Abdul Aziz, Robert Sudgen, University of East Anglia, UK.

This research will study the role of representative leadership in the setting of villages in a rural Sarawak, Federation of Malaysia, by investigating how the relative status rankings between representative leaders and their followers affect the level of mutual trust and the resulting impact on a groups’ ability to achieve efficient outcomes.  The experiment will use a novel modification of a public goods game. This research will contribute to a better understanding of the factors that support or hinder trust relationships between groups involved in team production and their “representative leaders.” In particular, the research will aim to gain understanding of the relationship between naturally occurring prestige and trust and trustworthiness. Findings may possibly show how NGOs and government agencies can assist economic development in small-scale societies and discourage leadership from engaging in rent-seeking.