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Experimental evidence on deceitful communication: does everyone have a price ?

Author

Listed:
  • Radu Vranceanu

    () (ESSEC Business School - Essec Business School)

  • Delphine Dubart

    (ESSEC Business School - Essec Business School)

Abstract

This paper introduces a new task to elicit individual aversion to deceiving, defined as the lowest payoff for which an individual agrees to switch from faithful to deceitful communication. The core task is a modified version of the Deception Game as presented in Gneezy (Am. Econ. Rev. 95 (1): 384395: 2005). Deceitful communication brings about a constant loss for the receiver, and a range of benefits for the sender. A multiple-price-list mechanism is used to determine the sender's communication strategy contingent on the various benefits from deception. The results show that 71% of the subjects in the sender role will implement pure or threshold communication strategies. Among them, 40% appear to be process driven, being either "ethical" or "spiteful". The other 60% respond to incentives in line with the fixed cost of lying theory; they will forego faithful communication if the benefit from deceiving the other is large enough. Regression analysis shows that this reservation payoff¤ is independent of the risk aversion and social preferences of the subject; it would thus capture an inner preference for "behaving well".

Suggested Citation

  • Radu Vranceanu & Delphine Dubart, 2019. "Experimental evidence on deceitful communication: does everyone have a price ?," Working Papers hal-01822814, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-01822814
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2019.01.005)
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-essec.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01822814v2
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Keywords

    Deception; Communication strategy; Cost of lying; Inequality aversion; Multiple price list;

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