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Can Honesty Oaths, Peer Interaction, or Monitoring Mitigate Lying?

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  • Tobias Beck

    (University of Kassel)

  • Christoph Bühren

    (University of Kassel)

  • Björn Frank

    (University of Kassel)

  • Elina Khachatryan

    (University of Kassel)

Abstract

We introduce several new variants of the dice experiment by Fischbacher and Föllmi-Heusi (Journal of the European Economic Association 11(3):525–547, 2013) to investigate measures to reduce lying. Hypotheses on the relative performance of these treatments are derived from a straightforward theoretical model. In line with previous research, we find that groups of two subjects lied at least to the same extent as individuals—even in a novel treatment where we assigned to one subject the role of being the other’s monitor. However, we find that our participants hardly lied if they do not benefit and only others do, even if they were in a reciprocal relationship. Thus, we conclude that collaboration on lying mostly happens for personal gain. To mitigate selfish lying, an honesty oath which aims to increase moral awareness turned out to be effective.

Suggested Citation

  • Tobias Beck & Christoph Bühren & Björn Frank & Elina Khachatryan, 2020. "Can Honesty Oaths, Peer Interaction, or Monitoring Mitigate Lying?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 163(3), pages 467-484, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:163:y:2020:i:3:d:10.1007_s10551-018-4030-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-018-4030-z
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    Cited by:

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    2. Nicolas Jacquemet & Alexander G James & Stéphane Luchini & James J Murphy & Jason F Shogren, 2021. "Do truth-telling oaths improve honesty in crowd-working?," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(1), pages 1-18, January.
    3. Sorravich Kingsuwankul & Chloe Tergiman & Marie Claire Villeval, 2023. "Why do oaths work? Image concerns and credibility in promise keeping," Working Papers hal-04209489, HAL.
    4. Tobias Cagala & Ulrich Glogowsky & Johannes Rincke & Simeon Schudy, 2023. "Commitment Requests Do Not Affect Truth-Telling in Laboratory and Online Experiments," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 466, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    5. Feess, Eberhard & Schilling, Thomas & Timofeyev, Yuriy, 2023. "Misreporting in teams with individual decision making: The impact of information and communication," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 209(C), pages 509-532.
    6. Ann-Kathrin Koessler & Lionel Page & Uwe Dulleck, 2021. "Public cooperation statements," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 16(4), pages 747-767, October.
    7. Tobias Beck, 2020. "Lying and Mistrust in the Continuous Deception Game," MAGKS Papers on Economics 202030, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    8. Joseph A. Johnson & Patrick R. Martin & Bryan Stikeleather & Donald Young, 2022. "Investigating the Interactive Effects of Prosocial Actions, Construal, and Moral Identity on the Extent of Employee Reporting Dishonesty," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 181(3), pages 721-743, December.
    9. Beck, Tobias, 2021. "How the honesty oath works: Quick, intuitive truth telling under oath," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 94(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Lie detection; Honesty; Moral awareness; Reciprocity; Group decision; Monitoring; Dice experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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