Handbook of Research Methods on Trust
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Handbook of Research Methods on Trust

Edited by Fergus Lyon, Guido Möllering and Mark N.K. Saunders

The Handbook of Research Methods on Trust provides an authoritative in-depth consideration of quantitative and qualitative methods for empirical study of trust in the social sciences. As this topic has matured, a growing number of practical approaches and techniques has been utilised across the broad, multidisciplinary community of trust research, providing both insights and challenges. This unique Handbook draws together a wealth of research methods knowledge gained by trust researchers into one essential volume. The contributors examine different methodological issues and particular methods, as well as share their experiences of what works, what does not work, challenges and innovations.
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Chapter 4: Agent-based Simulation of Trust

Bart Nooteboom


Bart Nooteboom INTRODUCTION Agent-based simulation is useful for exploring possible worlds, seeing what might happen under what conditions as a result of complex interaction between agents, as in the building and breaking of trust. In this chapter, a survey of some attempts is given, and a specific case is summarized; shortcomings and problems are also indicated. With a variety of associates I had done a number of statistical/econometric studies of trust (Noorderhaven et al., 1998; Nooteboom et al., 1997, 2000) but when you find statistical associations between antecedents and outcomes of trust, it does not tell you how trust processes work. So with other associates I turned to case studies (Klein Woolthuis et al., 2005), studying the development of trust over time, but this still does not trace how interactions produce the trust outcomes you find. Therefore with yet other associates I turned to agent-based simulation. Trust is an interactive phenomenon. People adjust their trust or distrust in others on the basis of observed actions and their interpretation. This becomes especially complex when there are multiple agents. In such complex interaction virtuous cycles of trust-building and vicious cycles of collapse may arise. A natural method for investigating this is that of agent-based simulation, in which interaction is explicitly modelled. With this method one can study emergent properties that would be hard or impossible to tackle analytically. A SURVEY Many attempts have been made at agent-based modelling of trust and related issues. The purpose of the models varies widely. Some study...

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