IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Large Stakes and Little Honesty? Experimental Evidence from a Developing Countr


  • Andreas Leibbrandt
  • Pushkar Maitra
  • Ananta Neelim


We experimentally study the extent to which individuals are honest when lying can result in a gain of several months’ worth of income. Randomly selected individuals from villages in Bangladesh participated in a sender-receiver cheap talk game. We varied the potential benefits from providing false recommendations. While we find that individuals are more likely to provide false recommendations when stakes are very large, we still observe that almost half of the senders refrain from lying. Receivers are generally suspicious and approximately half of the times do not follow recommendations received. In addition, we observe that one-fifth of the senders do not send any message if they can remain silent and that the option to remain silent crowds out honesty but not dishonesty. These findings provide novel insights on the prevalence, robustness, and motivation of honesty over large stakes from a developing country.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Leibbrandt & Pushkar Maitra & Ananta Neelim, 2017. "Large Stakes and Little Honesty? Experimental Evidence from a Developing Countr," Monash Economics Working Papers 13-17, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2017-13

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Lata Gangadharan & Tarun Jain & Pushkar Maitra & Joe Vecci, 2022. "Lab-in-the-field experiments: perspectives from research on gender," The Japanese Economic Review, Springer, vol. 73(1), pages 31-59, January.
    2. Gylfason, Haukur Freyr & Vésteinsdóttir, Vaka & Kristinsson, Kari & Asgeirsdottir, Tinna Laufey & Schram, Arthur, 2023. "Gender differences in lying: The role of stakes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 222(C).
    3. Sanjit Dhami, 2017. "Human Ethics and Virtues: Rethinking the Homo-Economicus Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 6836, CESifo.
    4. Despoina Alempaki & Valeria Burdea & Daniel Read, 2021. "Deceptive Communication: Direct Lies vs. Ignorance, Partial-Truth and Silence," CESifo Working Paper Series 9286, CESifo.
    5. Shuguang Jiang & Marie Claire Villeval, 2022. "Dishonesty in Developing Countries -What Can We Learn From Experiments?," Working Papers hal-03899654, HAL.
    6. Despoina Alempaki & Valeria Burdea & Daniel Read, 2023. "Deceptive Communication: Direct Lies vs. Ignorance, Partial-Truth and Silence," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 444, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    7. Alexander Henke & Fahad Khalil & Jacques Lawarree, 2022. "Honest agents in a corrupt equilibrium," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(3), pages 762-783, August.

    More about this item


    Artefactual Field Experiment; Honesty; Deception; Stakes; Development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2017-13. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Simon Angus (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.