We investigate the role of trust in strategic information sharing in global supply chains with both empirical and theoretical lenses. The canonical theory predicts that when economic incentives are far apart, no information will be effectively shared in any equilibrium. In sharp contrast, we show that a continuum of spontaneous trust exists among human decision makers who interacted in experimental supply chains (Experiment 1). We further demonstrate that cultural differences between China and the U.S. significantly affect how spontaneous trust manifests in within-country versus cross-country supply chains. In addition, repeated interactions lead to distinct behavioral dynamics between Chinese and U.S. individuals (Experiments 2 and 3). Finally, we develop the first analytical model of trust in strategic supply chain information sharing, and we show that the model can explain our experimental observations well.
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