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

59 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2019 Last revised: 8 May 2020

See all articles by Cristina Bicchieri

Cristina Bicchieri

University of Pennsylvania

Eugen Dimant

University of Pennsylvania; CESifo

Silvia Sonderegger

University of Bristol - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 5, 2020

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,
while showing 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 (May 5, 2020). 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 ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/view/eugendimant/

CESifo ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich
Germany

Silvia Sonderegger

University of Bristol - Department of Economics ( email )

8 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 ITN
United Kingdom

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