(When) Would I Lie To You? Comment on ?Deception: The Role of Consequences?
This paper reconsiders the evidence on lying or deception presented in Gneezy (2005,American Economic Review). We argue that Gneezy?s data cannot reject the hip?esis that people are one of two kinds: either a person will never lie, or a person will lie whenever she prefers the outcome obtained by lying over the outcome obtained by telling the truth. This implies that so long as lying induces a preferred outcome over truth-telling, a person?s decisi? of whether to lie may be completely insensitive to other changes in the induced outcomes, such as exactly how much she monetarily gains relative to how much she hurts an anonymous partner. We run new but similar experiments to those of Gneezy in order to test this hypothesis. We find that our data cannot reject this hypothesis either, but we also discover substantial differences in behavior between our sub jects and Gneezy?s sub jects.
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