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Assurance and Trust

Many transactions involve promises of quality and safety that cannot be fully verified before the fact. In these situations, one party decides whether to trust the other to deliver what is promised. A consumer decides whether to trust the grocer, pharmacist, or mechanic to deliver a good or service of a certain quality. A bank decides whether to trust a prospective borrower. A landlord decides whether to trust a possible tenant.

Both the promiser and the person relying on him gain when the promiser keeps his promise (in the same way as prisoners gain by cooperating in the prisoner's dilemma). Society flourishes when people can trust each other. But those who act on the promises of others must have grounds for their trust. They value not ...

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