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To Deceive or Not to Deceive: The Effect of Deception on Behavior inFuture Laboratory Experiments

  • Jamison, Julian

    (U of California, Berkeley)

  • Karlan, Dean

    (Yale U)

  • Schechter, Laura

    (U of Wisconsin)

Experimental economists believe (and enforce) that researchers should not employ deception in the design of experiments. The rule exists in order to protect a public good: the ability of other researchers to conduct experiments and have participants trust their instructions to be an accurate representation of the game being played. Yet other social sciences, particularly psychology, do not maintain such a rule. We examine whether such a public goods problem exists by purposefully deceiving some participants in one study, and then examining whether the deceived participants behave differently in a subsequent study. We find significant differences in both the selection of individuals who return to play after being deceived as well as (to a lesser extent) the behavior in the subsequent games, thus providing qualified support for the proscription of deception. We discuss policy implications for the maintenance of separate participant pools.

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Paper provided by Yale University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 18.

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Date of creation: Jun 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:yaleco:18
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Web page: http://www.econ.yale.edu/ddp/

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  1. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  2. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital and Predict Financial Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1688-1699, December.
  3. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  4. McDaniel, Tanga & Starmer, Chris, 1998. "Experimental economics and deception: A comment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 403-409, June.
  5. Scharlemann, Jorn P. W. & Eckel, Catherine C. & Kacelnik, Alex & Wilson, Rick K., 2001. "The value of a smile: Game theory with a human face," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 617-640, October.
  6. Schechter, Laura, 2007. "Traditional trust measurement and the risk confound: An experiment in rural Paraguay," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 272-292, February.
  7. Weimann, Joachim, 1994. "Individual behaviour in a free riding experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 185-200, June.
  8. Blount, Sally, 1995. "When Social Outcomes Aren't Fair: The Effect of Causal Attributions on Preferences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 131-144, August.
  9. Andreas Ortmann & Ralph Hertwig, 2002. "The Costs of Deception: Evidence from Psychology," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 111-131, October.
  10. Hey, John D., 1998. "Experimental economics and deception: A comment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 397-401, June.
  11. Bonetti, Shane, 1998. "Experimental economics and deception," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 377-395, June.
  12. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521456821 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Robert Gibbons & Leaf Van Boven, 1999. "Contingent Social Utiltiy in the Prisoner's Dilemma," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2105, David K. Levine.
  14. Frohlich, Norman & Oppenheimer, Joe & Bernard Moore, J., 2001. "Some doubts about measuring self-interest using dictator experiments: the costs of anonymity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 271-290, November.
  15. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital And Predict Financial Decisions," Working Papers 909, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  16. Sheryl Ball & Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & William Zame, 2001. "Status In Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 161-188, February.
  17. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  18. Nicholas Bardsley, 2000. "Control Without Deception: Individual Behaviour in Free-Riding Experiments Revisited," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 215-240, December.
  19. Eyal Winter & Shmuel Zamir, 2005. "An Experiment With Ultimatum Bargaining In A Changing Environment," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 56(3), pages 363-385.
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