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Do the altruists lie less?

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  • Rudolf Kerschbamer
  • Daniel Neururer
  • Alexander Gruber

Abstract

Much is known about heterogeneity in social preferences and about heterogeneity in lying aversion - but little is known about the relation between the two at the individual level. Are the altruists simply upright persons who do not only care about the well-being of others but also about honesty? And are the selfish those who lie whenever lying maximizes their material payoff? This paper addresses those questions in experiments that first elicit subject's social preferences and then let them make decisions in an environment where lying increases the own material payoff and has either consequences for the payoffs of others or no consequences for others. We find that altruists lie less when lying hurts another party but we do not find any evidence in support of the hypothesis that altruists are more (or less) averse to lying than others in environments where lying has no effects on the payoffs of others.

Suggested Citation

  • Rudolf Kerschbamer & Daniel Neururer & Alexander Gruber, 2017. "Do the altruists lie less?," Working Papers 2017-18, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck, revised 09 Nov 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:inn:wpaper:2017-18
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    2. Tamás Keller & Hubert János Kiss & Szabolcs Számadó, 2020. "Cheating in primary school: Experimental evidence on ego-depletion and individual factors," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 2048, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
    3. Hedegaard, Morten & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Müller, Daniel & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2021. "Distributional preferences explain individual behavior across games and time," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 231-255.
    4. Edward Cartwright & Lian Xue & Charlotte Brown, 2020. "Are People Willing to Tell Pareto White Lies? A Review and New Experimental Evidence," Games, MDPI, vol. 12(1), pages 1-23, December.
    5. Alan, Sule & Ertac, Seda & Gumren, Mert, 2020. "Cheating and incentives in a performance context: Evidence from a field experiment on children," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 681-701.
    6. Schürz, Simon & Alem, Yonas & Kocher, Martin G. & Carlsson, Fredrik & Lindahl, Mikael, 2020. "Distributional Preferences in Adolescent Peer Networks," IHS Working Paper Series 20, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    7. Jaber-Lopez Tarek & Baier Alexandra & Davis Brent J., 2021. "In-group, out-group effects in distributional preferences: the case of gender," German Economic Review, De Gruyter, vol. 22(2), pages 199-214, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    deception; lies; social preferences; distributional preferences; equality equivalence test;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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