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I might be a liar, but I am not a thief: An experimental distinction between the moral costs of lying and stealing


  • Hermann, Daniel
  • Mußhoff, Oliver


In this study, we shed light on the different moral costs of lying and stealing. To accomplish this, we set up a die-rolling task in which participants could increase their own payout through lying or theft. The results show that participants have fewer reservations about lying compared to stealing, which implies higher intrinsic costs for stealing.

Suggested Citation

  • Hermann, Daniel & Mußhoff, Oliver, 2019. "I might be a liar, but I am not a thief: An experimental distinction between the moral costs of lying and stealing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 135-139.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:163:y:2019:i:c:p:135-139
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.05.009

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    More about this item


    Lying; Deception; Stealing; Laboratory experiment; Behavioral economics;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design


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