Lying Aversion and the Size of the Lie

59 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2017

See all articles by Uri Gneezy

Uri Gneezy

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management

Agne Kajackaite

WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Joel Sobel

University of California at San Diego

Date Written: September 12, 2017

Abstract

This paper studies lying. An agent randomly picks a number from a known distribution. She can then report any number and receive a monetary payoff based only on her report. The paper presents a model of lying costs that generates hypotheses regarding behavior. In an experiment, we find that the highest fraction of lies is from reporting the maximal outcome, but some participants do not make the maximal lie. More participants lie partially when the experimenter cannot observe their outcomes than when the experimenter can verify the observed outcome. Partial lying increases when the prior probability of the highest outcome decreases.

Keywords: Lying, Deception, Experiments, Behavioral Economics

JEL Classification: C90, C72

Suggested Citation

Gneezy, Uri and Kajackaite, Agne and Sobel, Joel, Lying Aversion and the Size of the Lie (September 12, 2017). American Economic Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3043837

Uri Gneezy

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Agne Kajackaite (Contact Author)

WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin, 10785
Germany

Joel Sobel

University of California at San Diego ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States
619-534-4367 (Phone)
619-534-7040 (Fax)

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