Many scholars argue that the delegation of decision rights to independent institutions promotes trust and specific investments. We test this conjecture with variations of the trust game in which the back transfer decision is delegated to a third party. A randomly chosen third party with a fixed payment induces larger investments over time although the experimental design rules out reputation building. Changes in the third party’s selection procedure eliminate this benefit. If the third party gets a reward for the appointment, delegation actually destroys trust. Investors (unwarrantedly) fear a diffusion of responsibility and lower back transfers in this case.