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Lies in Disguise. An experimental study on cheating

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  • Urs Fischbacher
  • Franziska Heusi

Abstract

In this paper we present a new design which allows us to draw inferences on the distribution of lying behavior among the population. Participants received a dice in order to determine their payoff anonymously. Whatever they reported to have rolled, they received as payoff. 39% of the subjects were honest and maximally 22% of them were lying completely. Interestingly we found subjects who lied but who did not maximize their income by doing so. Using additional experiments, we can show that a compelling explanation for this behavior is the desire to maintain a favorable self-concept, including honesty and non-greediness.

Suggested Citation

  • Urs Fischbacher & Franziska Heusi, 2008. "Lies in Disguise. An experimental study on cheating," TWI Research Paper Series 40, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
  • Handle: RePEc:twi:respas:0040
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    9. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Measuring Beliefs in an Experimental Lost Wallet Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 163-182, February.
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    11. Gerald Pruckner & Rupert Sausgruber, 2006. "Trust on the Streets: A Natural Field Experiment on Newspaper Purchasing," Discussion Papers 06-01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Lie detection; honesty; deception; experimental design;

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