Lying in a Foreign Language?
82 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2017 Last revised: 21 Oct 2020
Date Written: October 20, 2020
We experimentally investigate whether using a foreign language affects social and personal norms on dishonesty, and whether language dependent norms explain lying behaviour. Participants can inflate their relative performance in a real effort task, and thereby increase their own payoff at a cost to another. As our main treatment manipulation, we vary the language of the experiment, that is conducted either in one’s native or a foreign language. We find that dishonesty is generally perceived as more socially inappropriate in one’s native language. However, we do not find a systematic foreign language effect on lying behaviour.
Note: The paper was previously circulated as "When in Rome: Lying in a Foreign Language" (01/04/2017)
Keywords: lying, norm compliance, personal norms, social norms, laboratory experiment
JEL Classification: D03, D63, C90, C92
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation