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Social preferences and lying aversion in children

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  • Valeria Maggian

    () (University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, Piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo, 1, 20126, Milano, Italy)

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    () (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69007, France ; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne,F-69130 Ecully, France)

Abstract

While previous research has shown that social preferences develop in childhood, we study whether this development is accompanied by reduced use of deception when lies would harm others, and increased use of deception to benefit others. In a sample of children aged between 7 and 14, we find strong aversion to lying at all ages. Lying is driven mainly by selfish motives and envy. Children with stronger social preferences are less prone to deception, even when lying would benefit others at no monetary cost. Older children lie less than younger children and require more selfjustification to lie.

Suggested Citation

  • Valeria Maggian & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Social preferences and lying aversion in children," Working Papers 1337, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
  • Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:1337
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ritwik Banerjee, 2015. "On the interpretation of World Values Survey trust question - global expectations vs. local beliefs," Economics Working Papers 2015-19, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    2. Galeotti, Fabio & Kline, Reuben & Orsini, Raimondello, 2017. "When foul play seems fair: Exploring the link between just deserts and honesty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 451-467.
    3. Houser, Daniel & List, John A. & Piovesan, Marco & Samek, Anya & Winter, Joachim, 2016. "Dishonesty: From parents to children," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 242-254.
    4. Rudolf Kerschbamer & Daniel Neururer & Alexander Gruber, 2017. "Do the altruists lie less?," Working Papers 2017-18, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck, revised 09 Nov 2017.
    5. Zhixin Dai & Fabio Galeotti & Marie Claire Villeval, 2016. "Cheating in the Lab Predicts Fraud in the Field An Experiment in Public Transportations," Working Papers halshs-01265696, HAL.
    6. Chen, Jingnan & Houser, Daniel & Montinari, Natalia & Piovesan, Marco, 2016. "Beware of popular kids bearing gifts: A framed field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 104-120.
    7. Julia Kramer & Silvia Lübbecke & Nina Lucia Stephan, 2018. "Cheating for my or for your benefit? A field experiment with children," Working Papers Dissertations 33, Paderborn University, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Lie aversion; deception; social preferences; children; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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