Trust is critical to the healthy function and growth of organizations. In particular, the success of online platforms of resource exchange, which depends on enabling trust between strangers, hinges on understanding factors that contribute to the engineering of trust. While reputation systems have proved effective in fostering trust and in offsetting prevalent social biases, it has been challenging to measure the extent to which having a peer-to-peer experience shapes judgment of trustworthiness, both in other members and in the platform itself. We draw causal conclusions from a longitudinal experiment that tracked 3,374 Airbnb users over time. We found that the average causal effect of a good user interaction enhances trust in the platform while reducing the importance users place in social similarity in their decision-making process. The effect is homogenous across groups of different socio-demographic features, which shows evidence that almost all subgroups benefit from positive user interactions.
Zhu, Chenyang; Abrahao, Bruno; Zhao, Anqi; and Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, Stanford University, "The Effect of User Interactions on Shaping Online Trust: Evidence from a Large-scale Experiment" (2020). PACIS 2020 Proceedings. 45.
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