It's Not A Lie if You Believe the Norm Does Not Apply: Conditional Norm-Following with Strategic Beliefs

58 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2019 Last revised: 23 Dec 2019

See all articles by Cristina Bicchieri

Cristina Bicchieri

University of Pennsylvania

Eugen Dimant

University of Pennsylvania, Behavioral Ethics Lab

Silvia Sonderegger

University of Bristol - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 20, 2019

Abstract

We experimentally investigate whether individuals strategically distort their beliefs about dominant norms. Embedded in the context of lying, we systematically vary both the nature of elicited beliefs (descriptive about what others do, or normative about what others approve of) and whether subjects are aware of the forthcoming lying opportunity at the belief-formation stage. We build a dual-self model of belief distortion applied to the context of social norms and derive a number of precise predictions. Our findings provide a perspective on why, when and which norm-relevant beliefs are strategically distorted and show that not all belief distortions are created equal.

Keywords: Cheating, Experiment, Lying, Social Norms, Uncertainty

JEL Classification: C72, C91, D8, D9

Suggested Citation

Bicchieri, Cristina and Dimant, Eugen and Sonderegger, Silvia, It's Not A Lie if You Believe the Norm Does Not Apply: Conditional Norm-Following with Strategic Beliefs (December 20, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3326146 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3326146

Cristina Bicchieri

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-898-5820 (Phone)

Eugen Dimant (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania, Behavioral Ethics Lab ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/eugendimant/

Silvia Sonderegger

University of Bristol - Department of Economics ( email )

8 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 ITN
United Kingdom

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