Title: Promoting trust through linguistic features of provider profiles in the sharing economy

Authors: Maarten Ter Huurne; Jonas Moons; Amber Ronteltap; Rense Corten; Vincent Buskens

Addresses: University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, P.O. Box 85029, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands ' University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, P.O. Box 85029, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands ' University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, P.O. Box 85029, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands ' Department of Sociology/ICS, Utrecht University, Padualaan 14, 3584 CH Utrecht, The Netherlands ' Department of Sociology/ICS, Utrecht University, Padualaan 14, 3584 CH Utrecht, The Netherlands

Abstract: Trust between providers and consumers in the sharing economy are crucial to complete transactions successfully. From a consumer's perspective, a provider's profile is an important source of information for judging trustworthiness, because it contains multiple trust cues. However, the effect of a provider's self-description on perceived trustworthiness is still poorly understood. We examine how the linguistic features of a provider's self-description predict perceived trustworthiness. To determine the perceived trustworthiness of 259 profiles, real consumers on a Dutch sharing platform rated these profiles for trustworthiness. The results show that profiles were perceived as more trustworthy if they contained more words, more words related to cooking, and more words related to positive emotions. Also, a profile's perceived trustworthiness score correlated positively with the provider's actual sales performance. These findings indicate that a provider's self-description is a relevant signal to consumers, even though it seems easy to fake.

Keywords: sharing economy; trust; perceived trustworthiness; linguistic inquiry and word count; LIWC; linguistic features; C2C.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEB.2021.10041152

International Journal of Electronic Business, 2021 Vol.16 No.4, pp.391 - 417

Accepted: 10 May 2021
Published online: 15 Sep 2021 *

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