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Are people conditionally honest? The effects of stakes and information about others' behavior

Sarah Necker, Benoit Le Maux and David Masclet ()

VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics from Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association

Abstract: We study theoretically and empirically how monetary incentives and information about others' behavior affects dishonesty. We ran a laboratory experiment with 560 participants inspired by the "observed game" developed by Kajackaite and Gneezy (2017). We find that the extensive (the fraction of liars) and intensive (the size of the lie) margin of dishonesty decrease when stakes are very high. On average, information about others slightly increases the fraction of liars but has no effect on the size of the lie. Distinguishing subjects by their belief on others' behavior, we find that information decreases the fraction of liars among over-estimators and increases the fraction among under-estimators. This pattern is the same across payoff levels.

Keywords: Laboratory experiment; theory; cheating; incentives; information; moral costs; lying costs (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D03 D78 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp, nep-hpe and nep-soc
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:zbw:vfsc20:224578

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