Intergenerational Cooperation: an Experimental Study of Ageism in Trust and Exploitation

Kulesz, Micaela M.; Dittrich, Dennis A.V.; Schniter, Eric
(2018)

 slides
Abstract
Financial exploitation of trusting older adults by younger adults is the most prevalent and frequent form of elder abuse and a source of mounting concern given the increasing demands for intergenerational cooperation across greying societies. We conducted an experiment with older (>55 years old) and younger (<26 years old) adults who repeat- edly played 4 versions of a centipede game (CG) within and between age-groups. By altering payouts across 4 version of the CG we can dis- tinguish “cooperative” behavior motivated by equal payoffs from instru- mentally “cooperative” behavior motivated by varying levels of incen- tives made available for exploitation through trust-based turn taking. In this CG behavior we find some evidence of “reverse” ageism: older adults show a preference for cooperating with other older adults but not with younger adults, but no evidence of younger adults’ ageism or a se- lective exploitation of older adults.
Keywords
Centipede Game, Age Difference, Intergenerational, Ageism, Trust, Exploitation

The full working paper will become available during summer 2018.