Information asymmetry and deception in the investment game
Several situations in our daily interactions are characterized by uncertainty and asymmetric information regarding the final outcomes. For example, an investor may overstate a project’s value, or a superior may choose to under, or over, state the gains from a project to a subordinate. We modify the standard investment game to study the effect of possible deception, i.e. over-, or under-, statement of the true value, on investee (and investor) behavior. We find that deception is prevalent and around 66% of the investors send false messages. Investors both over-, and under-, state the true value of the multiplier, k. We elicit investee beliefs and find that investees are naive in that almost half of them believe the message they receive. Meanwhile, a large proportion of investors think that sending a message was useful. The introduction of the possibility of deception does not affect trust or trustworthiness on average, but deceivers make the deceived worse off, return less and are more likely to report lying to avoid harming others. Finally, an increase in information asymmetry increases deception
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