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Age-based discrimination is considered undesirable, yet we know little about age stereotypes and their effects on honesty and trust. To investigate this aspect of ageism, we presented older adults (over age 50) and younger adults (under age 25) with incentivized belief elicitation tasks about anticipated interaction behaviors and then a series of same, different, and unknown-aged group interactions in a strategic-communication game. All adults shared consensual stereotypes about uncooperative younger adults and cooperative older adults that demonstrated “wisdom of crowds”. While the out-group was consistently stereotyped as relatively different and more dishonest and suspicious than observed to be, the in-group was neither consistently stereotyped more accurately nor treated with more honesty and trust. Younger adults earned more by acting dishonestly with older adults and older adults earned less by trusting younger adults (despite stereotyping them as dishonest). We discuss how ageism is relevant to intergenerational cooperation in an aging society.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, volume 51, 2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2014.03.006

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