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Image and Misreporting

Author

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  • Ewers, Mara

    () (Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln (IW))

  • Zimmermann, Florian

    () (briq, University of Bonn)

Abstract

In this paper we ask if reports of private information about skills, abilities or achievements are affected by image concerns. We develop a simple model that illustrates how image utility can lead to misreporting of private information in contexts where truthful reports maximize monetary outcomes. In addition, we test the model's predictions in a controlled lab experiment. In the experiment, all subjects go through a series of quiz questions and subsequently report a performance measure. We vary if reports are made to an audience or not and find evidence for image effects. In the audience treatment, stated reports are significantly higher than in the private treatment. This suggests that overconfident appearance might be a consequence of social approval seeking. We also find that men state higher self-assessments than women. This gender difference seems to be driven by men responding more strongly to the presence of an audience.

Suggested Citation

  • Ewers, Mara & Zimmermann, Florian, 2012. "Image and Misreporting," IZA Discussion Papers 6425, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6425
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-555, March.
    2. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2011. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants, And Behavioral Consequences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 522-550, June.
    3. Armin Falk & Florian Zimmermann, 2011. "Preferences for Consistency," CESifo Working Paper Series 3528, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Sandra Ludwig & Julia Nafziger, 2011. "Beliefs about overconfidence," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 70(4), pages 475-500, April.
    5. Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 1999. "Collective action as a social exchange," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 341-369, July.
    6. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    7. Jean‐Pierre Benoît & Juan Dubra, 2011. "Apparent Overconfidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1591-1625, September.
    8. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2010. "Overconfidence is a Social Signaling Bias," IZA Discussion Papers 4840, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Pride and Prejudice: The Human Side of Incentive Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 990-1008, June.
    10. Reuben, Ernesto & Rey-Biel, Pedro & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2012. "The emergence of male leadership in competitive environments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 111-117.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Armin Falk, 2017. "Facing Yourself: A Note on Self-image," Working Papers 2017-048, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    2. Bobba, Matteo & Frisancho, Veronica, 2016. "Learning about Oneself: The Effects of Performance Feedback on School Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 10360, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Buser, Thomas & Ranehill, Eva & van Veldhuizen, Roel, 2017. "Gender differences in willingness to compete: The role of public observability," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2017-203, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    4. Freund, Caroline & Pierola, Denisse, 2016. "The Origin and Dynamics of Export Superstars," CEPR Discussion Papers 11687, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. repec:kap:expeco:v:21:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10683-017-9526-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Friedrichsen, Jana & König, Tobias & Schmacker, Renke, 2016. "Welfare stigma in the lab: Evidence of social signaling," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2016-208, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    7. repec:kap:expeco:v:20:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10683-016-9502-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Tor Eriksson & Lei Mao & Marie Claire Villeval, 2017. "Saving face and group identity," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(3), pages 622-647, September.
    9. Peter Schwardmann & Joël van der Weele, 2016. "Deception and Self-Deception," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-012/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    10. Ludwig, Sandra & Fellner-Röhling, Gerlinde & Thoma, Carmen, 2017. "Do women have more shame than men? An experiment on self-assessment and the shame of overestimating oneself," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 31-46.
    11. Jonathan Schulz & Christian Thoeni, 2014. "Overconfidence and career choice," Discussion Papers 2014-15, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    12. Schwardmann, Peter & van der Weele, Joel, 2017. "Deception and Self-Deception," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 25, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    13. Ewers, Mara, 2012. "Information and Competition Entry," IZA Discussion Papers 6411, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Thoma, Carmen, 2013. "Is Underconfidence Favored over Overconfidence? An Experiment on the Perception of a Biased Self-Assessment," Discussion Papers in Economics 17460, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    15. Carmen Thoma, 2016. "Under- versus overconfidence: an experiment on how others perceive a biased self-assessment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(1), pages 218-239, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    image concerns; self-assessment; overconfidence; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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