IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Explanation and Misrepresentation in the Laboratory


  • Lucy F. Ackert
  • Bryan K. Church
  • Ping Zhang


We report the results of an experiment designed to examine the effect of opportunity to provide an explanation for inaccurate results and predictability of behavior on managersâ?? reporting bias and investorsâ?? ability to decipher the bias. We conduct 20 experimental sessions, each comprised of one manager and three or four investors. The manager has an incentive, in general, to inflate investorsâ?? expectations and investors have an incentive to accurately predict value. We find that the manager reports with an upward bias a majority of the time. The magnitude of the bias, however, is lessened considerably when the managerâ??s reporting behavior is unpredictable and the manager has an opportunity to explain inaccurate (biased) reports. The data suggest that under such conditions the manager seeks to avoid reporting inaccurately and having to choose an explanation. We also find that investors adapt to the managerâ??s behavior and, strikingly, anticipate that explanation dampens reporting bias.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucy F. Ackert & Bryan K. Church & Ping Zhang, 2006. "Explanation and Misrepresentation in the Laboratory," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-25, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:exc:wpaper:2006-25

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James C. Cox & Daniel Friedman & Vjollca Sadiraj, 2008. "Revealed Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 31-69, January.
    2. MICHAEL R. CARTER & Marco Castillo, 2002. "The Economic Impacts of Altruism, Trust and Reciprocity: An Experimental Approach to Social Capital," Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural and Applied Economics Staff Papers 448, Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural and Applied Economics Department.
    3. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
    4. Simon Gächter & Elke Renner, 2010. "The effects of (incentivized) belief elicitation in public goods experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(3), pages 364-377, September.
    5. Abbink, Klaus & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Renner, Elke, 2000. "The moonlighting game: An experimental study on reciprocity and retribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 265-277, June.
    6. García-Muñoz, Teresa & Neuman, Shoshana, 2012. "Is Religiosity of Immigrants a Bridge or a Buffer in the Process of Integration? A Comparative Study of Europe and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 6384, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846.
      • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    8. James Cox & Klarita Sadiraj & Vjollca Sadiraj, 2008. "Implications of trust, fear, and reciprocity for modeling economic behavior," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(1), pages 1-24, March.
    9. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs, 2008. "Testing theories of fairness--Intentions matter," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 287-303, January.
    10. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Measuring Beliefs in an Experimental Lost Wallet Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 163-182, February.
    11. Grootaert Grootaert & Deepa Narayan & Veronica Nyhan Jones & Michael Woolcock, 2004. "Measuring Social Capital : An Integrated Questionnaire," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15033, June.
    12. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:exc:wpaper:2006-25. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (J. Todd Swarthout). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.