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Social Preferences and Lying Aversion in Children

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  • Maggian, Valeria

    (Ca' Foscari University of Venice)

  • Villeval, Marie Claire

    (CNRS, GATE)

Abstract

While previous research has shown that social preferences develop in childhood, we study whether this development is accompanied by reduced use of deception when lies would harm others, and increased use of deception to benefit others. In a sample of children aged between 7 and 14, we find strong aversion to lying at all ages. Lying is driven mainly by selfish motives and envy. Children with stronger social preferences are less prone to deception, even when lying would benefit others at no monetary cost. Older children lie less than younger children and require more self-justification to lie.

Suggested Citation

  • Maggian, Valeria & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2013. "Social Preferences and Lying Aversion in Children," IZA Discussion Papers 7857, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7857
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    3. Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Neururer, Daniel & Gruber, Alexander, 2019. "Do altruists lie less?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 560-579.
      • 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.
    4. Zhang, Shanshan & Gomies, Matthew & Bejanyan, Narek & Fang, Zhou & Justo, Jason & Lin, Li-Hsin & Narender, Rainita & Tasoff, Joshua, 2020. "Trick for a treat: The effect of costume, identity, and peers on norm violations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 460-474.
    5. Amato, Clara & Gino, Francesca & Montinari, Natalia & Sacco, Pierluigi, 2020. "Cheating, inequality aversion, and appealing to social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 767-776.
    6. Galeotti, Fabio & Kline, Reuben & Orsini, Raimondello, 2017. "When foul play seems fair: Exploring the link between just deserts and honesty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 451-467.
    7. Zhixin Dai & Fabio Galeotti & Marie Claire Villeval, 2018. "Cheating in the Lab Predicts Fraud in the Field: An Experiment in Public Transportation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(3), pages 1081-1100, March.
    8. Chen, Jingnan & Houser, Daniel & Montinari, Natalia & Piovesan, Marco, 2016. "Beware of popular kids bearing gifts: A framed field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 104-120.
    9. Tai-Sen He & Lili Qin, 2020. "On the developmental origin of intrinsic honesty," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(9), pages 1-10, September.
    10. Edward Cartwright & Lian Xue & Charlotte Brown, 2020. "Are People Willing to Tell Pareto White Lies? A Review and New Experimental Evidence," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(1), pages 1-23, December.
    11. Cabrales, Antonio & Feri, Francesco & Gottardi, Piero & Meléndez-Jiménez, Miguel A., 2021. "Communication and social preferences: an experimental analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 15711, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Maggioni, Mario A. & Rossignoli, Domenico, 2020. "Clever little lies: Math performance and cheating in primary schools in Congo," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 380-400.
    13. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D., 2021. "Self-serving, altruistic and spiteful lying in the schoolyard," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 159-175.
    14. 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.
    15. Cadsby, C. Bram & Song, Fei & Yang, Xiaolan, 2020. "Are “left-behind” children really left behind? A lab-in-field experiment concerning the impact of rural/urban status and parental migration on children's other-regarding preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 715-728.
    16. Houser, Daniel & List, John A. & Piovesan, Marco & Samek, Anya & Winter, Joachim, 2016. "Dishonesty: From parents to children," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 242-254.
    17. Dániel Horn & Hubert János Kiss & Tünde Lénárd, 2021. "Gender differences in preferences of adolescents: evidence from a large-scale classroom experiment," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 2103, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
    18. Julia Kramer & Silvia Lübbecke & Nina Lucia Stephan, 2019. "Do children stop cheating when someone else reaps the benefits? A lab in the field experiment," Working Papers Dissertations 33, Paderborn University, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics.
    19. Alessandro Bucciol & Simona Cicognani & Natalia Montinari, 2019. "It’s Time to Cheat!," Working Papers 06/2019, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    20. Hermes, Henning & Hett, Florian & Mechtel, Mario & Schmidt, Felix & Schunk, Daniel & Wagner, Valentin, 2020. "Do children cooperate conditionally? Adapting the strategy method for first-graders," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 638-652.
    21. 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.
    22. Sutter, Matthias & Zoller, Claudia & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela, 2019. "Economic behavior of children and adolescents – A first survey of experimental economics results," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 98-121.
    23. Tobol, Yossef & Yaniv, Gideon, 2019. "Parents’ marital status, psychological counseling and dishonest kindergarten children: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 33-38.
    24. Despoina Alempaki & Genyue Fu & Jingcheng Fu, 2021. "Lying and social norms: a lab-in-the-field experiment with children," Discussion Papers 2021-01, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    25. Blake, Peter R. & Piovesan, Marco & Montinari, Natalia & Warneken, Felix & Gino, Francesca, 2015. "Prosocial norms in the classroom: The role of self-regulation in following norms of giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 18-29.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    children; lie aversion; deception; social preferences; experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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