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Social Preferences and Lying Aversion in Children

  • Maggian, Valeria


    (University of Milan Bicocca)

  • Villeval, Marie Claire


    (CNRS, GATE)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7857.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7857
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