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Who Lies? A Meta-Analysis of the Effect of Sex, Age, and Education on Honesty

28 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2017  

Valerio Capraro

Middlesex University

Date Written: March 10, 2017

Abstract

What characteristics distinguish liars from truth-tellers? Recent research has explored “when” and “why” people lie. Yet little is known about “who” lies. Previous studies have led to mixed results about the effect of gender on deception, and they have largely neglected the role of other characteristics, such as age and level of education.

To shed light on these questions, here I report a meta-analysis of 6,508 distinct observations, collected in 50 Deception Game treatments, by 6 research groups. I find that:

(i) males are more likely than females to tell black lies;

ii) males are more likely than females to tell altruistic white lies;

(iii) males are (marginally) more likely than females to tell Pareto white lies;

(iv) age has no effect on the decision to tell black lies;

(v) age has no effect on the decision to tell altruistic white lies;

(vi) age has no effect on the decision to tell Pareto white lies;

(vii) educated subjects are more likely than non-educated subjects to tell black lies;

(viii) the level of education has no effect on the decision to tell altruistic white lies;

(ix) educated subjects are more likely than non-educated subjects to tell Pareto white lies.

Keywords: lying aversion, honesty, gender, age, education, deception game

JEL Classification: C70, C79, C90, C91, C92, D64, D70, D71, H41

Suggested Citation

Capraro, Valerio, Who Lies? A Meta-Analysis of the Effect of Sex, Age, and Education on Honesty (March 10, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2930944 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2930944

Valerio Capraro (Contact Author)

Middlesex University ( email )

The Burroughs
London, NW4 4BT
United Kingdom

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