IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/not/notcdx/2021-01.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Lying and social norms: a lab-in-the-field experiment with children

Author

Listed:
  • Despoina Alempaki

    (University of Warwick)

  • Genyue Fu

    (Hangzhou Normal University, China)

  • Jingcheng Fu

    (National University of Singapore)

Abstract

We conduct a lab-in-the-field experiment with 567 children, aged four to eleven, in which we investigate the effect of social norms on lying and test whether norm sensitivity changes with age. Children think about a number between 1 and 6 in private, then roll a die, and report whether the number that came up is the same as the one they thought of. Just before making their report, we expose children to different empirical and normative information prescribing lying or honesty. We show that a normative intervention suggesting other children approve of honesty effectively reduces lying. We find limited evidence of the influence of our empirical interventions: information suggesting other children report honestly is effective only for younger children, while information suggesting other children report dishonestly does not influence lying patterns. We further observe that, although lying is omnipresent across all age groups, honesty significantly increases with age.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:not:notcdx:2021-01
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cedex/documents/papers/cedex-discussion-paper-2021-01.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dimant, Eugen, 2015. "On Peer Effects: Behavioral Contagion of (Un)Ethical Behavior and the Role of Social Identity," MPRA Paper 68732, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Urs Fischbacher & Franziska Föllmi-Heusi, 2013. "Lies In Disguise—An Experimental Study On Cheating," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 525-547, June.
    3. Sutter, Matthias & Yilmaz, Levent & Oberauer, Manuela, 2015. "Delay of gratification and the role of defaults—An experiment with kindergarten children," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 21-24.
    4. Stefano DellaVigna & Elizabeth Linos, 2020. "RCTs to Scale: Comprehensive Evidence from Two Nudge Units," NBER Working Papers 27594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Barr, Abigail & Lane, Tom & Nosenzo, Daniele, 2018. "On the social inappropriateness of discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 153-164.
    6. Bindra, Parampreet Christopher & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela & Lergetporer, Philipp, 2020. "Discrimination at young age: Experimental evidence from preschool children," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 55-70.
    7. Erin L. Krupka & Roberto A. Weber, 2013. "Identifying Social Norms Using Coordination Games: Why Does Dictator Game Sharing Vary?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 495-524, June.
    8. Cristina Bicchieri & Eugen Dimant & Simon Gaechter & Daniele Nosenzo, 2020. "Observability, Social Proximity, and the Erosion of Norm Compliance," CESifo Working Paper Series 8212, CESifo.
    9. Andreas Diekmann & Wojtek Przepiorka & Heiko Rauhut, 2015. "Lifting the veil of ignorance: An experiment on the contagiousness of norm violations," Rationality and Society, , vol. 27(3), pages 309-333, August.
    10. Boonmanunt, Suparee & Kajackaite, Agne & Meier, Stephan, 2020. "Does poverty negate the impact of social norms on cheating?," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 569-578.
    11. Fosgaard, Toke Reinholt & Hansen, Lars Gaarn & Piovesan, Marco, 2013. "Separating Will from Grace: An experiment on conformity and awareness in cheating," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 279-284.
    12. Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
    13. Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela & Lergetporer, Philipp, 2015. "Lying and age: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 12-25.
    14. Valeria Maggian & Marie Claire Villeval, 2016. "Social preferences and lying aversion in children," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(3), pages 663-685, September.
    15. Dimant, Eugen, 2019. "Contagion of pro- and anti-social behavior among peers and the role of social proximity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 66-88.
    16. Dimant, Eugen & van Kleef, Gerben A. & Shalvi, Shaul, 2020. "Requiem for a Nudge: Framing effects in nudging honesty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 247-266.
    17. Bucciol, Alessandro & Piovesan, Marco, 2011. "Luck or cheating? A field experiment on honesty with children," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 73-78, February.
    18. 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.
    19. Jiang, Ting, 2013. "Cheating in mind games: The subtlety of rules matters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 328-336.
    20. Simon Gächter & Daniele Nosenzo & Martin Sefton, 2013. "Peer Effects In Pro-Social Behavior: Social Norms Or Social Preferences?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 548-573, June.
    21. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
    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. Weibull, Jörgen & Villa, Edgar, 2005. "Crime, punishment and social norms," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 610, Stockholm School of Economics.
    24. Mitra, Arnab & Shahriar, Quazi, 2020. "Why is dishonesty difficult to mitigate? The interaction between descriptive norm and monetary incentive," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    25. Ritwik Banerjee, 2016. "On the interpretation of bribery in a laboratory corruption game: moral frames and social norms," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(1), pages 240-267, March.
    26. Cristina Bicchieri & Eugen Dimant, 2019. "Nudging with Care: The Risks and Benefits of Social Information," Discussion Papers 2019-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    27. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
    28. Hanna Fromell & Daniele Nosenzo & Trudy Owens & Fabio Tufano, 2019. "One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Plurality of Social Norms and Saving Behavior in Kenya," Discussion Papers 2019-12, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    29. Innes Robert & Mitra Arnab, 2013. "Is Dishonesty Contagious?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 722-734, January.
    30. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
    31. Gerlinde Fellner & Rupert Sausgruber & Christian Traxler, 2013. "Testing Enforcement Strategies In The Field: Threat, Moral Appeal And Social Information," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 634-660, June.
    32. Boonmanunt, Suparee & Kajackaite, Agne & Meier, Stephan, 2020. "Does poverty negate the impact of social norms on cheating?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 569-578.
    33. Uri Gneezy & Agne Kajackaite & Joel Sobel, 2018. "Lying Aversion and the Size of the Lie," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(2), pages 419-453, February.
    34. Kã–Lle, Felix & Lane, Tom & Nosenzo, Daniele & Starmer, Chris, 2020. "Promoting voter registration: the effects of low-cost interventions on behaviour and norms," Behavioural Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 26-49, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Cristina Bicchieri & Eugen Dimant & Simon Gächter & Daniele Nosenzo, 2020. "Observability, Social Proximity, and the Erosion of Norm Compliance," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 009, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    2. Dimant, Eugen & van Kleef, Gerben A. & Shalvi, Shaul, 2020. "Requiem for a Nudge: Framing effects in nudging honesty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 247-266.
    3. Abeler, Johannes & Falk, Armin & Kosse, Fabian, 2021. "Malleability of preferences for honesty," CEPR Discussion Papers 16164, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Felix Kölle & Simone Quercia, 2021. "The Influence of Empirical and Normative Expectations on Cooperation," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 099, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    5. Mitra, Arnab & Shahriar, Quazi, 2020. "Why is dishonesty difficult to mitigate? The interaction between descriptive norm and monetary incentive," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    6. Benistant, Julien & Galeotti, Fabio & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2021. "The Distinct Impact of Information and Incentives on Cheating," IZA Discussion Papers 14014, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Cristina Bicchieri & Eugen Dimant & Silvia Sonderegger, 2020. "It's Not a Lie If You Believe the Norm Does Not Apply: Conditional Norm-Following with Strategic Beliefs," CESifo Working Paper Series 8059, CESifo.
    8. Linek, Maximilian & Traxler, Christian, 2021. "Framing and social information nudges at Wikipedia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 1269-1279.
    9. Cristina Bicchieri & Eugen Dimant, 2018. "It's Not A Lie If You Believe It. Lying and Belief Distortion Under Norm-Uncertainty," PPE Working Papers 0012, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    10. Garbarino, Ellen & Slonim, Robert & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2019. "Loss aversion and lying behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 379-393.
    11. Schmidt, Robert J., 2019. "Do injunctive or descriptive social norms elicited using coordination games better explain social preferences?," Working Papers 0668, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    12. Eugen Dimant, 2020. "Hate Trumps Love: The Impact of Political Polarization on Social Preferences," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 029, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    13. Arno Apffelstaedt & Jana Freundt & Christoph Oslislo, 2021. "Social Norms and Elections: How Elected Rules Can Make Behavior (In)Appropriate," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 068, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    14. Felix Koelle & Tom Lane & Daniele Nosenzo & Chris Starmer, 2017. "Nudging the electorate: what works and why?," Discussion Papers 2017-16, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    15. Garbarino, Ellen & Slonim, Robert & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2016. "Loss Aversion and Lying Behavior: Theory, Estimation and Empirical Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 10395, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Johannes Buckenmaier & Eugen Dimant & Ann-Christin Posten & Ulrich Schmidt, 2021. "Efficient Institutions and Effective Deterrence: On Timing and Uncertainty of Formal Sanctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 62(2), pages 177-201, April.
    17. Barron, Kai & Nurminen, Tuomas, 2020. "Nudging cooperation in public goods provision," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    18. Bicchieri, Cristina & Dimant, Eugen & Gächter, Simon & Nosenzo, Daniele, 2020. "Social Proximity and the Erosion of Norm Compliance," IZA Discussion Papers 13864, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Christoph Engel, 2016. "Experimental Criminal Law. A Survey of Contributions from Law, Economics and Criminology," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2016_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    20. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    truth-telling; lying; social norms; children; lab-in-the-field experiment;
    All these keywords.

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:not:notcdx:2021-01. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cdnotuk.html .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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: Suzanne Robey (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cdnotuk.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.