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Truth-telling under Oath

Author

Listed:
  • Nicolas Jacquemet

    () (PSE - Paris School of Economics, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Stéphane Luchini

    () (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales)

  • Julie Rosaz

    () (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, LAMETA - Laboratoire Montpelliérain d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - UM1 - Université Montpellier 1 - UM3 - Université Paul-Valéry - Montpellier 3 - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - Montpellier SupAgro - Centre international d'études supérieures en sciences agronomiques - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier)

  • Jason F. Shogren

    () (Departement of Economics and Finance, University of Wyoming - UW - University of Wyoming)

Abstract

Oath taking for senior executives has been promoted as a means to enhance honesty within and toward organizations. Herein we explore whether people who voluntarily sign a solemn truth-telling oath are more committed to sincere behavior when offered the chance to lie. We design an experiment to test how the oath affects truth telling in two contexts: a neutral context replicating the typical experiment in the literature, and a "loaded" context in which we remind subjects that "a lie is a lie." We consider four payoff configurations, with differential monetary incentives to lie, implemented as within-subjects treatment variables. The results are reinforced by robustness investigations in which each subject made only one lying decision. Our results show that the oath reduces lying, especially in the loaded environment—falsehoods are reduced by 50%. The oath, however, has a weaker effect on lying in the neutral environment. The oath did affect decision times in all instances: the average person takes significantly more time deciding whether to lie under oath.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Jacquemet & Stéphane Luchini & Julie Rosaz & Jason F. Shogren, 2018. "Truth-telling under Oath," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01984653, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-01984653
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01984653
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:soceco:v:79:y:2019:i:c:p:43-52 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Niu, Xiaofei & Li, Jianbiao, 2019. "Incentivizing organ donation by swearing an oath: The role of signature and ritual," EconStor Preprints 203243, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    3. Nicolas Jacquemet & Alexander James & Stéphane Luchini & James Murphy & Jason F. Shogren, 2019. "Lying and Shirking Under Oath," Working Papers 19-19, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
      • Nicolas Jacquemet & Alexander James & Stéphane Luchini & James J. Murphy & Jason F. Shogren, 2019. "Lying and Shirking Under Oath," Working Papers 2019-02, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.

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