Securities Law Prof Blog

Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Stout on Trust Behavior

Trust Behavior: The Essential Foundation of Securities Markets, by Lynn A. Stout, University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law, was recently posted on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Evidence is accumulating that in making investment decisions, many investors do not employ a 'rational expectations' approach in which they anticipate others’ future behavior by analyzing their incentives and constraints. Rather, many investors rely on trust. Indeed, trust may be essential to a well-developed securities market. A growing empirical literature investigates why and when people trust, and this literature offers several useful lessons. In particular, most people seem surprisingly willing to trust other people, and even institutions like 'the market,' in novel situations. Trust behavior, however, is subject to history effects. When trust is not met by trustworthiness but instead is abused, trust tends to disappear. These lessons carry significant implications for our understanding of modern securities markets.

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