IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Liar's Dividend: The Impact of Deepfakes and Fake News on Trust in Political Discourse


  • Schiff, Kaylyn Jackson

    (Emory University)

  • Schiff, Daniel S.

    (Purdue University)

  • Bueno, Natalia


This study examines the phenomenon of misinformation about misinformation, or politicians falsely claiming that stories are fake news or deepfakes. Strategic and false claims that stories are fake news or deepfakes may benefit politicians by helping them maintain support after a scandal. We propose that this benefit, known as the "liar's dividend," may be achieved through two strategies employed by politicians: by invoking informational uncertainty or by rallying core supporters in opposition. We administer five survey experiments to over 15,000American adults detailing hypothetical politician responses to video or text news stories depicting real politician scandals. We find that claims of misinformation representing both strategies increase politician support across partisan subgroups. These strategies are effective against text-based reports of scandals but are largely ineffective against video evidence and do not reduce general trust in media. Finally, these false claims produce greater dividends for politicians than alternative responses to scandal, such as remaining silent or apologizing.

Suggested Citation

  • Schiff, Kaylyn Jackson & Schiff, Daniel S. & Bueno, Natalia, 2023. "The Liar's Dividend: The Impact of Deepfakes and Fake News on Trust in Political Discourse," SocArXiv x43ph, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:x43ph
    DOI: 10.31219/

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Adam J. Berinsky & Michele F. Margolis & Michael W. Sances, 2014. "Separating the Shirkers from the Workers? Making Sure Respondents Pay Attention on Self‐Administered Surveys," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 58(3), pages 739-753, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. How AI deepfakes threaten the 2024 elections
      by Rehan Mirza in Journalist's Resource on 2024-02-16 18:41:26

    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. Vecchio, Riccardo & Caso, Gerarda & Cembalo, Luigi & Borrello, Massimiliano, 2020. "Is respondents’ inattention in online surveys a major issue for research?," Economia agro-alimentare / Food Economy, Italian Society of Agri-food Economics/Società Italiana di Economia Agro-Alimentare (SIEA), vol. 22(1), March.
    2. Lude, Maximilian & Prügl, Reinhard, 2021. "Experimental studies in family business research," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1).
    3. Simon, Mark & Stanton, Steven J. & Townsend, Janell D. & Kim, John, 2019. "A multi-method study of social ties and crowdfunding success: Opening the black box to get the cash inside," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 206-214.
    4. Janne Tukiainen & Sebastian Blesse & Albrecht Bohne & Leonardo M. Giuffrida & Jan Jäässkeläinen & Ari Luukinen & Antti Sieppi, 2021. "What Are the Priorities of Bureaucrats? Evidence from Conjoint Experiments with Procurement Officials," EconPol Working Paper 63, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    5. Valerio Capraro & Hélène Barcelo, 2021. "Punishing defectors and rewarding cooperators: Do people discriminate between genders?," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(1), pages 19-32, September.
    6. Jimin Pyo & Michael G. Maxfield, 2021. "Cognitive Effects of Inattentive Responding in an MTurk Sample," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 102(4), pages 2020-2039, July.
    7. Christopher Roth & Johannes Wohlfart, 2020. "How Do Expectations about the Macroeconomy Affect Personal Expectations and Behavior?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 731-748, October.
    8. Aljosha Henkel & Ernst Fehr & Julien Senn & Thomas Epper, 2024. "Beliefs about Inequality and the Nature of Support for Redistribution," Working Papers 2024-iRisk-02, IESEG School of Management.
    9. Le Maux, Benoît & Necker, Sarah, 2023. "Honesty nudges: Effect varies with content but not with timing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 207(C), pages 433-456.
    10. Fehr Ernst & Epper Thomas & Senn Julien, 2020. "Social preferences and redistributive politics," ECON - Working Papers 339, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Aug 2023.
    11. Lilith Burgstaller & Annabelle Doerr & Sarah Necker, 2023. "Do Household Tax Credits Increase the Demand for Legally Provided Services?," CESifo Working Paper Series 10211, CESifo.
    12. Nicole Maestas & Kathleen J. Mullen & David Powell & Till von Wachter & Jeffrey B. Wenger, 2023. "The Value of Working Conditions in the United States and the Implications for the Structure of Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 113(7), pages 2007-2047, July.
    13. Burgstaller, Lilith & Doerr, Annabelle & Necker, Sarah, 2023. "Incentives for Consumers to Act as Tax Auditors: (When) Are They Effective?," VfS Annual Conference 2023 (Regensburg): Growth and the "sociale Frage" 277628, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    14. Alessandro Nai, 2020. "The Trump Paradox: How Cues from a Disliked Source Foster Resistance to Persuasion," Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press, vol. 8(1), pages 122-132.
    15. Milton Mayfield & Jacqueline Mayfield, 2021. "Sound and Safe: The Role of Leader Motivating Language and Follower Self-Leadership in Feelings of Psychological Safety," Administrative Sciences, MDPI, vol. 11(2), pages 1-30, May.
    16. Branden B. Johnson & Adam M. Finkel, 2023. "Sensitivity to scope in estimating the social benefits of prolonging lives for regulatory decisions using national stated preference tradeoffs," Environment Systems and Decisions, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 509-528, September.
    17. Alexis Grigorieff & Christopher Roth & Diego Ubfal, 2020. "Does Information Change Attitudes Toward Immigrants?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(3), pages 1117-1143, June.
    18. Haotian Cheng & Dayton M. Lambert & Karen L. DeLong & Kimberly L. Jensen, 2022. "Inattention, availability bias, and attribute premium estimation for a biobased product," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 53(2), pages 274-288, March.
    19. Heo, Cindy Yoonjoung & Kim, Bona & Park, Kwangsoo & Back, Robin M., 2022. "A comparison of Best-Worst Scaling and Likert Scale methods on peer-to-peer accommodation attributes," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 368-377.
    20. Riccardo Vecchio & Gerarda Caso & Luigi Cembalo & Massimiliano Borrello, 2020. "Is respondents? inattention in online surveys a major issue for research?," Economia agro-alimentare, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 22(1), pages 1-18.

    More about this item

    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:osf:socarx:x43ph. 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.

    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: OSF (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.