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Truth-telling under Oath

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Abstract

A growing experimental literature has explored how monetary incentives affect truth-telling and lying behavior. We extend this literature to consider how to non-monetary incentives–a loaded environment and commitment through a truth-telling oath–affect truth-telling and lying behavior. For a loaded environment, we revise the standard lying experiment by making it explicit and clear to the person that “a lie is a lie”. We then combine the lying experiment with a solemn oath procedure, by which subjects commit themselves to tell the truth before entering the laboratory. Both non-monetary incentive devices affect a person's willingness to tell the truth: subjects lie slightly less frequently in the loaded environment, and drastically less after they signed the solemn oath. Interestingly, the loaded environment and oath have distinct effects–the oath changes the incentive to lie only when truthfulness is made meaningful through the loaded environment

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  • Nicolas Jacquemet & Stéphane Luchini & Julie Rosaz & Jason F. Shogren, 2015. "Truth-telling under Oath," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 15068, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:15068
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    Keywords

    Deception; lies; truth-telling oath; experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group 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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