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Size matters - when it comes to lies

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  • Gerald Eisenkopf
  • Ruslan Gurtoviy
  • Verena Utikal

Abstract

A small lie appears trivial but it obviously violates moral commandments. We analyze whether the preference for others’ truth telling is absolute or depends on the size of a lie. In a laboratory experiment we compare punishment for different sizes of lies controlling for the resulting economic harm. We find that people are sensitive to the size of a lie and that this behavioral pattern is driven by honest people. People who lie themselves punish softly in any context.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz in its series TWI Research Paper Series with number 66.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:twi:respas:0066

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Keywords: Lying; norm violation; punishment; experiment;

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References

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  1. Matthias Sutter, 2007. "Deception through telling the truth?! Experimental evidence from individuals and teams," Working Papers 2007-26, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  2. Croson, Rachel & Boles, Terry & Murnighan, J. Keith, 2003. "Cheap talk in bargaining experiments: lying and threats in ultimatum games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 143-159, June.
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  8. Paul M. Romer, 1996. "Preferences, Promises, and the Politics of Entitlement," NBER Chapters, in: Individual and Social Responsibility: Child Care, Education, Medical Care, and Long-Term Care in America, pages 195-228 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Joel Slemrod, 2007. "Cheating Ourselves: The Economics of Tax Evasion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48, Winter.
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  12. Lundquist, Tobias & Ellingsen, Tore & Gribbe, Erik & Johannesson, Magnus, 2009. "The aversion to lying," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 81-92, May.
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  16. Santiago Sanchez-Pages & Marc Vorsatz, 2007. "Enjoy the Silence: An Experiment on Truth-Telling," ESE Discussion Papers 155, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  17. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
  18. Rode, Julian, 2010. "Truth and trust in communication: Experiments on the effect of a competitive context," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 325-338, January.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. How should I lie?
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-07-08 14:54:00
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Cited by:
  1. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria L. & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2012. "Cheating in the Workplace: An Experimental Study of the Impact of Bonuses and Productivity," IZA Discussion Papers 6725, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Reuben, Ernesto & Stephenson, Matt, 2013. "Nobody likes a rat: On the willingness to report lies and the consequences thereof," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 384-391.
  3. Serra Garcia, M. & Damme, E.E.C. van & Potters, J.J.M., 2011. "Lying About What you Know or About What you Do? (replaces CentER DP 2010-033)," Discussion Paper 2011-139, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Reuben, Ernesto & Stephenson, Matt, 2012. "Nobody Likes a Rat: On the Willingness and Consequences of Reporting Lies," IZA Discussion Papers 6998, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Serra Garcia, M. & Damme, E.E.C. van & Potters, J.J.M., 2011. "Lying About What you Know or About What you do? (replaces TILEC DP 2010-016)," Discussion Paper 2011-055, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.

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