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Nobody likes a rat: On the willingness to report lies and the consequences thereof

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  • Reuben, Ernesto
  • Stephenson, Matt

Abstract

We investigate the intrinsic motivation of individuals to report, and thereby sanction, fellow group members who lie for personal gain. We further explore the changes in lying and reporting behavior that result from giving individuals a say in who joins their group. We find that enough individuals are willing to report lies such that in fixed groups lying is unprofitable. However, we also find that when groups can select their members, individuals who report lies are generally shunned, even by groups where lying is absent. This facilitates the formation of dishonest groups where lying is prevalent and reporting is nonexistent.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:93:y:2013:i:c:p:384-391
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.03.028
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Lying; Lying aversion; Whistleblowing; Social norms; Dishonesty;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • M42 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Auditing
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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