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Size Matters - When it Comes to Lies

Author

Listed:
  • Gerald Eisenkopf

    () (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany)

  • Ruslan Gurtoviy

    () (Department of Business Administration, University of Trier, Germany)

  • Verena Utikal

    () (Department of Economics, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany)

Abstract

A small lie appears trivial but it obviously violates moral commandments. We analyze whether the preference for others’ truth telling is absolute or depends on the size of a lie. In a laboratory experiment we compare punishment for different sizes of lies controlling for the resulting economic harm. We find that people are sensitive to the size of a lie and that this behavioural pattern is driven by honest people. People who lie themselves punish softly in any context.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerald Eisenkopf & Ruslan Gurtoviy & Verena Utikal, 2011. "Size Matters - When it Comes to Lies," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2011-14, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  • Handle: RePEc:knz:dpteco:1114
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2013. "Cheating in the workplace: An experimental study of the impact of bonuses and productivity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 120-134.
    2. Djawadi, Behnud Mir & Fahr, René, 2015. "“…and they are really lying”: Clean evidence on the pervasiveness of cheating in professional contexts from a field experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 48-59.
    3. Reuben, Ernesto & Stephenson, Matt, 2013. "Nobody likes a rat: On the willingness to report lies and the consequences thereof," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 384-391.
    4. Serra Garcia, M. & van Damme, E.E.C. & Potters, J.J.M., 2010. "Which Words Bond? An Experiment on Signaling in a Public Good Game (replaced by TILEC DP 2011-055)," Discussion Paper 2010-016, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
    5. Feicht, Robert & Grimm, Veronika & Seebauer, Michael, 2016. "An experimental study of corporate social responsibility through charitable giving in Bertrand markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 88-101.
    6. Reuben, Ernesto & Stephenson, Matthew, 2012. "Nobody Likes a Rat: On the Willingness and Consequences of Reporting Lies," IZA Discussion Papers 6998, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Serra Garcia, M. & van Damme, E.E.C. & Potters, J.J.M., 2011. "Lying About What you Know or About What you Do? (replaces CentER DP 2010-033)," Discussion Paper 2011-139, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    8. Serra Garcia, M. & van Damme, E.E.C. & Potters, J.J.M., 2011. "Lying About What you Know or About What you do? (replaces TILEC DP 2010-016)," Discussion Paper 2011-055, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Lying; norm violation; punishment; 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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