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Malleability of preferences for honesty

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  • Falk, Armin
  • Abeler, Johannes
  • Kosse, Fabian

Abstract

Reporting private information is a key part of economic decision making. A recent literature has found that many people have a preference for honest reporting, contrary to usual economic assumptions. In this paper, we investigate whether preferences for honesty are malleable and what determines them. We experimentally measure preferences for honesty in a sample of children. As our main result, we provide causal evidence on the effect of the social environment by randomly enrolling children in a year-long mentoring programme. We find that, about four years after the end of the programme, mentored children are significantly more honest.

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  • Falk, Armin & Abeler, Johannes & Kosse, Fabian, 2021. "Malleability of preferences for honesty," CEPR Discussion Papers 16164, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:16164
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Honesty; Lying; Truth-telling; Formation of preferences; Experiments with children;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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