Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1323283
 
 

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Preferences for Truthfulness: Heterogeneity Among and Within Individuals


Rajna Gibson


University of Geneva - Graduate School of Business (HEC-Geneva); Swiss Finance Institute

Carmen Tanner


University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance

Alexander F. Wagner


University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance; Harvard University; Swiss Finance Institute; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

April 10, 2012

American Economic Review, 2013, vol. 103, pp. 532-548
Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper No. 08-48

Abstract:     
We conduct an experiment assessing the extent to which people trade off the economic costs of truthfulness against the intrinsic costs of lying. The results allow us to reject a type-based model. People's preferences for truthfulness do not identify them as only either "economic types" (who care only about consequences) or "ethical types" (who care only about process). Instead, we find that preferences for truthfulness are heterogeneous among individuals. Moreover, when examining possible sources of intrinsic costs of lying and their interplay with economic costs of truthfulness, we find that preferences for truthfulness are also heterogeneous within individuals.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

Keywords: Ethics, incentives, protected values, social norms, earnings management, truthfulness, honesty

JEL Classification: A13, C91, G30, M14

Accepted Paper Series


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Date posted: January 6, 2009 ; Last revised: June 3, 2013

Suggested Citation

Gibson , Rajna and Tanner, Carmen and Wagner, Alexander F., Preferences for Truthfulness: Heterogeneity Among and Within Individuals (April 10, 2012). American Economic Review, 2013, vol. 103, pp. 532-548; Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper No. 08-48. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1323283 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1323283

Contact Information

Rajna Gibson (Contact Author)
University of Geneva - Graduate School of Business (HEC-Geneva) ( email )
40 Boulevard du Pont d'Arve
Geneva 4, 1211
Switzerland
+41.22.379.89.83 (Phone)
Swiss Finance Institute ( email )
c/o University of Geneve
40, Bd du Pont-d'Arve
1211 Geneva, CH-6900
Switzerland

Carmen Tanner
University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance ( email )
CH-8032 Zurich
Switzerland
Alexander F. Wagner
University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance ( email )
Plattenstrasse 14
Zürich, 8032
Switzerland
+41 44 634 3963 (Phone)
Harvard University ( email )
1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Swiss Finance Institute ( email )
c/o University of Geneve
40, Bd du Pont-d'Arve
1211 Geneva, CH-6900
Switzerland
HOME PAGE: http://www.alex-wagner.com

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )
77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom
European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )
c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium
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