IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/gms/wpaper/1021.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Honest Lies

Author

Listed:
  • Li Hao

    () (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)

  • Daniel Houser

    () (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)

Abstract

We report data from a two-stage prediction game, where the accuracy of predictions (in the first stage) regarding die roll outcomes (in the second stage) is rewarded using a proper scoring rule. Thus, given the opportunity to self-report the die roll outcomes, participants have an incentive to bias their predictions to maximize elicitation payoffs. However, we find participants to be surprisingly unresponsive to this incentive, despite clear evidence that they cheated when self-reporting die roll outcomes. These data lend support to Akerlof's (1983) suggestion that people may prefer to appear honest without actually being honest. In particular, the vast majority (95%) of our subjects were willing to incur a cost to preserve an honest appearance. At the same time, only 44% exhibited intrinsic preference for honesty. Moreover, we found that after establishing an honest appearance people cheat to the greatest possible extent. These results suggest that "incomplete cheating" behavior frequently reported in the literature can be attributed more to a preference for maintaining appearances than an intrinsic aversion to maximum cheating.

Suggested Citation

  • Li Hao & Daniel Houser, 2011. "Honest Lies," Working Papers 1021, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:gms:wpaper:1021
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.gmu.edu/schools/chss/economics/icesworkingpapers.gmu.edu/pdf/1021.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Steffen Andersen & John Fountain & Glenn Harrison & E. Rutström, 2014. "Estimating subjective probabilities," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 207-229, June.
    2. Santiago Sánchez-Pagés & Marc Vorsatz, 2009. "Enjoy the silence: an experiment on truth-telling," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, pages 220-241.
    3. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Promises, Threats and Fairness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 397-420, April.
    4. Sanchez-Pages, Santiago & Vorsatz, Marc, 2007. "An experimental study of truth-telling in a sender-receiver game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, pages 86-112.
    5. Lundquist, Tobias & Ellingsen, Tore & Gribbe, Erik & Johannesson, Magnus, 2009. "The aversion to lying," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 81-92.
    6. Houser, Daniel & Vetter, Stefan & Winter, Joachim, 2012. "Fairness and cheating," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1645-1655.
    7. Sjaak Hurkens & Navin Kartik, 2009. "Would I lie to you? On social preferences and lying aversion," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(2), pages 180-192, June.
    8. Daniel Houser & Erte Xiao, 2011. "Classification of natural language messages using a coordination game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(1), pages 1-14, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Houser, Daniel & Vetter, Stefan & Winter, Joachim, 2012. "Fairness and cheating," European Economic Review, Elsevier, pages 1645-1655.
    2. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2013. "Cheating in the workplace: An experimental study of the impact of bonuses and productivity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 120-134.
    3. Rosaz, Julie & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2012. "Lies and biased evaluation: A real-effort experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 537-549.
    4. Besancenot, Damien & Dubart, Delphine & Vranceanu, Radu, 2013. "The value of lies in an ultimatum game with imperfect information," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 239-247.
    5. Damien Besancenot & Delphine Dubart & Radu Vranceanu, 2012. "The value of lies in a power-to-take game with imperfect information," CEPN Working Papers hal-00690409, HAL.
    6. Utikal, Verena & Fischbacher, Urs, 2013. "Disadvantageous lies in individual decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 108-111.
    7. repec:hal:journl:hal-00690409 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Ville Korpela, 2014. "All Deceptions Are Not Alike: Bayesian Mechanism Design with Social Norm Against Lying," Discussion Papers 95, Aboa Centre for Economics.
    9. repec:hal:journl:hal-00692139 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cheating; honest appearance; partial cheating; experimental design;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:gms:wpaper:1021. 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: (Stan Tsirulnikov). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/icgmuus.html .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.