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When do we lie?

  • Cappelen, Alexander W.
  • Sørensen, Erik Ø.
  • Tungodden, Bertil

The paper reports from an experiment studying how the aversion to lying is affected by non-economic dimensions of the choice situation. Specifically, we study whether people are more or less likely to lie when the content of the lie is personal, when they base decisions on intuition, and when they are in a market context. We also study how aversion to lying depends on personal characteristics, including age, gender, cognitive ability, personality and social preferences. Our main finding is that non-economic aspects of the choice situation are crucial in understanding aversion to lying. In particular, we find that people are less likely to lie when the content of the message is personal. We also find large effects from priming the participants to rely on intuition, but, interestingly, in this case the effect only applies to males. Finally, we find that people who are highly motivated by social preferences are more averse to lying, but there is no significant relationship between lying behavior and other personal characteristics.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 93 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 258-265

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:93:y:2013:i:c:p:258-265
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. Christoph Engel, 2011. "Dictator games: a meta study," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 583-610, November.
  2. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
  3. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2003. "Truth or Consequences: An Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(1), pages 116-130, January.
  4. Childs, Jason, 2012. "Gender differences in lying," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 147-149.
  5. Santiago Sánchez-Pagés & Marc Vorsatz, 2009. "Enjoy the silence: an experiment on truth-telling," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 220-241, June.
  6. 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.
  7. Sugato Chakravarty & Pankaj Jain & James Upson & Robert Wood, 2011. "Clean Sweep: Informed Trading through Intermarket Sweep Orders," Working Papers 1007, Purdue University, Department of Consumer Sciences.
  8. Dreber, Anna & Johannesson, Magnus, 2008. "Gender differences in deception," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 197-199, April.
  9. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
  10. Friesen, Lana & Gangadharan, Lata, 2012. "Individual level evidence of dishonesty and the gender effect," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 624-626.
  11. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
  12. Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2010. "Bare promises: An experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 281-283, May.
  13. Omar Al-Ubaydli & Daniel Houser & John V.C. Nye & Maria Pia Paganelli & Xiaofei (Sophia) Pan, 2011. "The Causal Effect of Market Participation on Trust: An Experimental Investigation Using Randomized Control," Working Papers 1027, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
  14. Raúl López-Pérez & Eli Spiegelman, 2013. "Why do people tell the truth? Experimental evidence for pure lie aversion," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 233-247, September.
  15. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
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