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Truth or Consequences: An Experiment

Listed author(s):
  • Jordi Brandts

    ()

    (Instituto de Análisis Económico, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Barcelona, Spain)

  • Gary Charness

    ()

    (University of California, Santa Barbara, California 94720)

This paper presents evidence that the willingness to punish an unfair action is sensitive to whether this action was preceded by a deceptive message. One player first sends a message indicating an intended play, which is either favorable or unfavorable to the other player in the game. After the message, the sender and the receiver play a simultaneous 2\times 2 game, in which the sender may or may not play according to his message. Outcome cells may, hence, be reached following true or false messages. In the third stage, the receiver may (at a cost) punish or reward, depending on which cell of the simultaneous game has been reached. We test whether receivers' rates of monetary sacrifice depend on the process by which an outcome is reached. We study two decision-elicitation methods: the strategy and the direct response methods. For each method, deception more than doubles the punishment rate as a response to an action that is unfavorable to the receiver. We also find evidence that 17--25% of all participants choose to reward a favorable action choice made by the sender, even though doing so leaves one at a payoff disadvantage. Our results reflect on current economic models of utility and have implications for organizational decision-making behavior.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.49.1.116.12755
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Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 49 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 116-130

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:49:y:2003:i:1:p:116-130
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  1. Gary Charness & David I. Levine, 1999. "When are layoffs acceptable? Evidence from a quasi-experiment," Economics Working Papers 369, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  2. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., . "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2003. "On the Nature of Fair Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 20-26, January.
  4. Farrell Joseph, 1993. "Meaning and Credibility in Cheap-Talk Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 514-531, October.
  5. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
  6. Brandts, J. & Sola, C., 1998. "Reference Points and Negative Reciprocity in Simple Sequential Games," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 425.98, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  7. Dufwenberg, M. & Kirchsteiger, G., 1998. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Discussion Paper 1998-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Rabin, Matthew, 1990. "Communication between rational agents," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 144-170, June.
  9. W. Chan Kim & Renée A. Mauborgne, 1996. "Procedural Justice and Managers' In-Role and Extra-Role Behavior: The Case of the Multinational," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(4), pages 499-515, April.
  10. Russell Cooper & Douglas V. DeJong & Robert Forsythe & Thomas W. Ross, 1992. "Communication in Coordination Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 739-771.
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  12. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-741, September.
  13. Dufwenberg, Martin, 2002. "Marital investments, time consistency and emotions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 57-69, May.
  14. Schotter Andrew & Weigelt Keith & Wilson Charles, 1994. "A Laboratory Investigation of Multiperson Rationality and Presentation Effects," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 445-468, May.
  15. Roth, Alvin E & Murnighan, J Keith, 1982. "The Role of Information in Bargaining: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1123-1142, September.
  16. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, "undated". "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  17. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  18. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2000. "Hot vs. Cold: Sequential Responses and Preference Stability in Experimental Games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(3), pages 227-238, March.
  19. Offerman, Theo, 2002. "Hurting hurts more than helping helps," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1423-1437, September.
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