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The cost of lying

Author

Listed:
  • Lundquist, Tobias

    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Ellingsen, Tore

    () (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Gribbe, Erik

    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Johannesson, Magnus

    () (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

We experimentally investigate the effect of cheap talk in a bargaining game with one-sided asymmetric information. A seller has private information about his or her skill and is provided an opportunity to communicate this information to a buyer through a written message. Four different treatments are compared; one without communication, one with free-form communication, and two treatments with pre-specified communication in the form of promises of varying strength. Our results suggest that lying about private information is costly and that the cost of lying increases with the size of the lie and the strength of the promise. Freely formulated messages lead to the fewest lies and the most efficient outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Lundquist, Tobias & Ellingsen, Tore & Gribbe, Erik & Johannesson, Magnus, 2007. "The cost of lying," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 666, Stockholm School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0666
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefano Demichelis & Jorgen W. Weibull, 2008. "Language, Meaning, and Games: A Model of Communication, Coordination, and Evolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1292-1311, September.
    2. Andersson, Ola & Wengström, Erik, 2012. "Credible communication and cooperation: Experimental evidence from multi-stage Games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 207-219.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Deception; Communication; Lies; Promises; Experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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