Deception Under Time Pressure: Conscious Decision or a Problem of Awareness?

24 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2017

See all articles by Kai A. Konrad

Kai A. Konrad

Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Tim Lohse

Berlin School of Economics and Law; Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance

Sven Simon

Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance

Date Written: September 25, 2017

Abstract

Time is a crucial determinant of deception, since some misreporting opportunities come as a surprise and require an intuitive decision while others allow for extensive reflection time. To be able to pursue a deceptive strategy, however, a subject must be aware of the misreporting opportunity. This paper provides experimental evidence on the role of the time dimension for dishonest decision-making and for the cognition process of the chance to deceive. We conduct a laboratory experiment of self-serving deceptive behavior which combines two exogenously varied levels of reflection time with a cognition process about the deception opportunity. We find that time pressure leads to more honesty compared to sufficient contemplation time. More importantly, decomposing misreporting into its two components, i.e., the cognition process of the misreporting opportunity and the conscious decision to misreport, reveals that more reflection time increases awareness of the misreporting opportunity. However, more time has no effect on the conscious decision of whether to misreport or not. Due to subjects’ lack of awareness under time pressure we conclude that honesty is the intuitive response.

Keywords: time pressure, awareness, deception, contemplation, cognitive process, laboratory experiment

JEL Classification: C910, D830, K420

Suggested Citation

Konrad, Kai A. and Lohse, Tim and Simon, Sven, Deception Under Time Pressure: Conscious Decision or a Problem of Awareness? (September 25, 2017). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6671, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3057929

Kai A. Konrad (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, 80539
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.tax.mpg.de/en/pub/home.cfm

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

90-98 Goswell Road
London, EC1V 7RR
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

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Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, 53072
Germany

Tim Lohse

Berlin School of Economics and Law ( email )

Badensche Strasse 50-51
Berlin, D-10825
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.hwr-berlin.de/en/prof/tim-lohse

Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, 80539
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.tax.mpg.de/en/pub/public_economics/research_affiliates/tim_lohse.cfm

Sven Simon

Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, 80539
Germany

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