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Truth-telling - A Representative Assessment

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Author Info

  • J Abeler

    ()
    (School of Economics, the University of Oxford)

  • A Becker

    (University of Bonn)

  • A Falk

    (University of Bonn)

Abstract

A central assumption of the canonical cheap talk literature is that people misreport their private information if this is to their material bene t. Recent evidence from laboratory experiments with student subjects suggests, however, that while many people do report the payo -maximizing outcome, some report their private information truthfully or at least do not lie maximally. We measure truth-telling outside the laboratory by calling a representative sample of the German population at home. In our setup, participants have a strong monetary incentive to misreport, misreporting cannot be detected, and reputational concerns are negligible. Yet, we nd that aggregate reporting behavior closely follows the expected truthful distribution. Our results underline the importance of lying costs and raise questions regarding the in uence of the decision-making environment and the elicitation mode on reporting behavior.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 2012-15.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:not:notcdx:2012-15

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Related research

Keywords: private information; cheap talk; honesty; lying costs; representative experiment;

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References

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  1. Gerald J. Pruckner & Rupert Sausgruber, 2008. "Honesty on the Streets - A Natural Field Experiment on Newspaper Purchasing," Working Papers 2009-24, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  2. Houser, Daniel & Vetter, Stefan & Winter, Joachim, 2010. "Fairness and Cheating," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 335, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  3. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 1695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Navin Kartik, 2008. "Strategic Communication with Lying Costs," 2008 Meeting Papers 350, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Nina Mazar & Dan Ariely, 2006. "Dishonesty in everyday life and its policy implications," Working Papers 06-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  6. Falk, Armin & Heckman, James J, 2010. "Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," CEPR Discussion Papers 7620, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Dreber, Anna & Johannesson, Magnus, 2008. "Gender differences in deception," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 197-199, April.
  8. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2011. "Identity, Morals, and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 805-855.
  9. Saran, Rene, 2011. "Bilateral trading with naive traders," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 544-557, June.
  10. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
  11. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
  12. Raúl López-Pérez, 2010. "Guilt and shame: an axiomatic analysis," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 69(4), pages 569-586, October.
  13. Kartik, Navin & Ottaviani, Marco & Squintani, Francesco, 2007. "Credulity, lies, and costly talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 93-116, May.
  14. Bucciol, Alessandro & Piovesan, Marco, 2011. "Luck or cheating? A field experiment on honesty with children," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 73-78, February.
  15. Stoop, Jan & Noussair, Charles & van Soest, Daan, 2010. "From the lab to the field: Cooperation among fishermen," MPRA Paper 28924, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "Promises and Partnership," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000001, UCLA Department of Economics.
  17. Gerald J. Pruckner & Rupert Sausgruber, 2013. "Honesty On The Streets: A Field Study On Newspaper Purchasing," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 661-679, 06.
  18. Ying Chen & Navin Kartik & Joel Sobel, 2008. "Selecting Cheap-Talk Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 117-136, 01.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2013. "Cheating in the workplace: An experimental study of the impact of bonuses and productivity," MPRA Paper 50166, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Alessandro Bucciol & Luca Zarri, 2013. "Lying in Politics: Evidence from the US," Working Papers 22/2013, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
  3. Valeria Maggian & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Social preferences and lying aversion in children," Working Papers 1337, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  4. Robert Dur & Robin Zoutenbier, 2013. "Intrinsic Motivations of Public Sector Employees: Evidence for Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 623, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  5. Alain Cohn & Michel André Maréchal & Thomas Noll, 2013. "Bad boys: the effect of criminal identity on dishonesty," ECON - Working Papers 132, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.

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