Lying and Reciprocity

47 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2019

See all articles by Simon Dato

Simon Dato

University of Bonn

Eberhard Feess

Victoria University of Wellington

Petra Nieken

Chair of Human Resource Management

Date Written: 2018


Recent literature has shown that lying behavior in the laboratory can well be explained by a combination of lying costs and reputation concerns. We extend the literature on lying behavior to strategic interactions. As reciprocal behavior is important in many interactions, we study a theoretical model on reciprocity where a player's altruism depends on her perception of the other player’s altruism towards herself. We analyze a sequential two-player contest and vary the second mover’s information on the first movers lying behavior. This allows us to derive predictions on the second mover’s behavior which we test empirically in a large scale online experiment and in the laboratory. In both experiments, the second mover’s lying propensity does not depend on whether the first mover has (possibly) lied or not. This robust behavioral pattern provides strong evidence that reciprocity does not play a role for lying behavior in our setting.

Keywords: private information, lying, reciprocity

JEL Classification: C900, D820, D910

Suggested Citation

Dato, Simon and Feess, Eberhard and Nieken, Petra, Lying and Reciprocity (2018). CESifo Working Paper No. 7368, Available at SSRN:

Simon Dato (Contact Author)

University of Bonn ( email )

Regina-Pacis-Weg 3
Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012

Eberhard Feess

Victoria University of Wellington ( email )

P.O. Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

Petra Nieken

Chair of Human Resource Management ( email )

Kaiserstra├če 12
Karlsruhe, Baden W├╝rttemberg 76131

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