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Truth and Trust in Communication: An Experimental Study of Behavior under Asymmetric Information

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  • Rode, Julian

    () (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Abstract

The paper presents an experimental study of truth telling and trust in communication under asymmetric information. In a two-player Communication Game (cf., Gneezy, 2005), an informed “advisor” sends a message to an uninformed “decision maker”, who then has to decide whether to follow the advice. The advisor may gain more by lying in the message. In two treatments, either a cooperative or a competitive context is induced before participants play the Communication Game. Advisors are unaffected by this contextual variation. In contrast, decision makers in the competitive context trust the advice less than in the cooperative context. The data provide evidence that this change in trust is due to different perceptions of the incentive structure. Individual differences in behavior can be related to certain personal characteristics (field of studies, gender, personality test scores). The data are largely in line with Subjective Equilibrium Analysis (Kalai & Lehrer, 1995).

Suggested Citation

  • Rode, Julian, 2007. "Truth and Trust in Communication: An Experimental Study of Behavior under Asymmetric Information," Ratio Working Papers 111, The Ratio Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0111
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    experimental economics; truth telling; trust; asymmetric information; individual differences; context effects; subjective beliefs;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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