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Why do people tell the truth? Experimental evidence for pure lie aversion

  • Raúl López-Pérez

    ()

  • Eli Spiegelman

    ()

A recent experimental literature shows that truth-telling is not always motivated by pecuniary motives, and several alternative motivations have been proposed. However, their relative importance in any given context is still not totally clear. This paper investigates the relevance of pure lie aversion, that is, a dislike for lies independent of their consequences. We propose a very simple design where other motives considered in the literature predict zero truth-telling, whereas pure lie aversion predicts a non-zero rate. Thus we interpret the finding that more than a third of the subjects tell the truth as evidence for pure lie aversion. Our design also prevents confounds with another motivation (a desire to act as others expect us to act) not frequently considered but consistent with much existing evidence. We also observe that subjects who tell the truth are more likely to believe that others will tell the truth as well. Copyright Economic Science Association 2013

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10683-012-9324-x
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 233-247

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Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:16:y:2013:i:3:p:233-247
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  19. López-Pérez, Raúl & Spiegelman, Eli, 2012. "Do Economists Lie More?," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2012/04, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
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