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, Abhijit Ramalingam, Robert Sudgen, University of East Anglia, UK.

The role of representative leadership in the setting of villages in rural Sarawak, Federation of Malaysia, is studied by investigating how the relative status rankings between representative leaders and their followers affect the level of mutual trust and its impact on a groups’ ability to achieve efficient outcomes.  The experiment uses a novel modification of a public goods game. The research aims are to gain understanding of the relationship between naturally occurring prestige and trust and trustworthiness. Can NGOs and government agencies assist economic development in small-scale societies and discourage leadership from engaging in rent-seeking?