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Lying About What You Know Or About What You Do?

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  • Marta Serra-Garcia
  • Eric van Damme
  • Jan Potters

Abstract

We compare communication about private information to communication about actions in a one-shot 2-person public good game with private information. The informed player, who knows the exact return from contributing and whose contribution is unobserved, can send a message about the return or her contribution. Theoretically, messages can elicit the uninformed player’s contribution, and allow the informed player to free-ride. The exact language used is not expected to matter. Experimentally, however, we find that free-ride depends on the language: the informed player free-rides less—and thereby lies less frequently—when she talks about her contribution than when she talks about the return. Further experimental evidence indicates that it is the promise component in messages about the contribution that leads to less free-ride and less lying.
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Suggested Citation

  • Marta Serra-Garcia & Eric van Damme & Jan Potters, 2013. "Lying About What You Know Or About What You Do?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(5), pages 1204-1229, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:11:y:2013:i:5:p:1204-1229
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jeea.2013.11.issue-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jordi Brandts & David J. Cooper, 2007. "It's What You Say, Not What You Pay: An Experimental Study of Manager–Employee Relationships in Overcoming Coordination Failure," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(6), pages 1223-1268, December.
    2. John Duffy & Nick Feltovich, 2006. "Words, Deeds, and Lies: Strategic Behaviour in Games with Multiple Signals," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 669-688.
    3. Miettinen, Topi, 2008. "Contracts and Promises - An Approach to Pre-play Agreements," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 707, Stockholm School of Economics.
    4. Bracht, Juergen & Feltovich, Nick, 2009. "Whatever you say, your reputation precedes you: Observation and cheap talk in the trust game," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1036-1044, October.
    5. Duffy, John & Feltovich, Nick, 2002. "Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words? An Experimental Comparison of Observation and Cheap Talk," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-27, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Abeler, Johannes & Becker, Anke & Falk, Armin, 2012. "Truth-Telling: A Representative Assessment," IZA Discussion Papers 6919, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Karl H. Schlag & Péter Vida, 2014. "Believing when Credible: Talking about Future Plans," Vienna Economics Papers 1409, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
    3. Möllers, Claudia & Normann, Hans-Theo & Snyder, Christopher M., 2016. "Communication in vertical markets: Experimental evidence," DICE Discussion Papers 226, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    4. Roman M. Sheremeta, 2016. "The pros and cons of workplace tournaments," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 302-302, October.
    5. Bernd Irlenbusch & Janna Ter Meer, 2015. "Lying in public good games with and without punishment," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 06-02, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
    6. Bernd Irlenbusch & Janna Ter Meer, 2012. "Fooling the Nice Guys: The effect of lying about contributions on public good provision and punishment," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 03-11, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
    7. Sheremeta, Roman M. & Shields, Timothy W., 2017. "Deception and reception: The behavior of information providers and users," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 445-456.
    8. Schlag, Karl H. & Vida, Péter, 2015. "Believing when Credible: Talking about Future Plans and Past Actions," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 517, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    9. Moreno, Ignacio & Vázquez, Francisco J. & Watt, Richard, 2017. "Rationality and honesty of consumers in insurance decisions," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 36-46.
    10. Adrian Groot Ruiz & Theo Offerman & Sander Onderstal, 2014. "For those about to talk we salute you: an experimental study of credible deviations and ACDC," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(2), pages 173-199, June.
    11. Adrian de Groot Ruiz & Theo Offerman & Sander Onderstal, 2011. "An Experimental Study of Credible Deviations and ACDC," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-153/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    12. Nicolas Jacquemet & Stephane Luchini & Jason Shogren & Adam Zylbersztejn, 2011. "Coordination with Communication under Oath," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00635801, HAL.
    13. Irlenbusch, Bernd & Ter Meer, Janna, 2013. "Fooling the Nice Guys: Explaining receiver credulity in a public good game with lying and punishment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 321-327.
    14. Armenak Antinyan & Luca Corazzini & Elena D'Agostino & Filippo Pavesi, 2017. "Watch your Words: an Experimental Study on Communication and the Opportunity Cost of Delegation," Working Papers 18/2017, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    15. Michèle Belot & Jeroen Ven, 2017. "How private is private information? The ability to spot deception in an economic game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(1), pages 19-43, March.
    16. James Andreoni & Marta Serra-Garcia, 2016. "Time-Inconsistent Charitable Giving," NBER Working Papers 22824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Hoffmann, Mareike & Lauer, Thomas & Rockenbach, Bettina, 2013. "The royal lie," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 305-313.
    18. Claudia Möllers & Hans-Theo Normann & Christopher M. Snyder, 2016. "Communication in Vertical Markets: Experimental Evidence," NBER Working Papers 22219, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Abeler, Johannes & Becker, Anke & Falk, Armin, 2014. "Representative evidence on lying costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 96-104.
    20. Bernd Irlenbusch & Marie Claire Villeval, 2015. "Behavioral ethics: how psychology influenced economics and how economics might inform psychology?," Post-Print halshs-01159696, HAL.
    21. Moellers, Claudia & Normann, Hans-Theo & Snyder, Christopher M., 2017. "Communication in vertical markets: Experimental evidence," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 214-258.
    22. Huseyn Ismayilov & Jan Potters, 2016. "Why do promises affect trustworthiness, or do they?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(2), pages 382-393, June.

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