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Lies In Disguise—An Experimental Study On Cheating


  • Urs Fischbacher
  • Franziska Föllmi-Heusi


In this paper we present a new design which allows us to draw inferences on the distribution of lying behavior among the population. Participants received a dice in order to determine their payoff anonymously. Whatever they reported to have rolled, they received as payoff. 39% of the subjects were honest and maximally 22% of them were lying completely. Interestingly we found subjects who lied but who did not maximize their income by doing so. Using additional experiments, we can show that a compelling explanation for this behavior is the desire to maintain a favorable self-concept, including honesty and non-greediness.
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  • Urs Fischbacher & Franziska Föllmi-Heusi, 2013. "Lies In Disguise—An Experimental Study On Cheating," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 525-547, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:11:y:2013:i:3:p:525-547

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Promises, Threats and Fairness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 397-420, April.
    2. Gerald Pruckner & Rupert Sausgruber, 2006. "A natural field experiment on newspaper purchasing," Natural Field Experiments 00320, The Field Experiments Website.
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    8. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    9. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Measuring Beliefs in an Experimental Lost Wallet Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 163-182, February.
    10. Torgler, Benno, 2002. " Speaking to Theorists and Searching for Facts: Tax Morale and Tax Compliance in Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(5), pages 657-683, December.
    11. Gerald Pruckner & Rupert Sausgruber, 2006. "Trust on the Streets: A Natural Field Experiment on Newspaper Purchasing," Discussion Papers 06-01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    12. James Alm & Michael McKee, 1998. "Extending the lessons of laboratory experiments on tax compliance to managerial and decision economics," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4-5), pages 259-275.
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