Content Matters: The Effects of Commitment Requests on Truth-Telling
30 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2019 Last revised: 16 Aug 2019
Date Written: August 5, 2019
This paper uses a laboratory experiment to test how the request to sign a no-cheating declaration affects truth-telling. We find that the effects strongly depend on the declaration's content. Signing a no-cheating declaration increases truth-telling if it is morally charged, does not affect behavior if it is morally neutral, and reduces truth-telling if it is morally neutral and threatens to punish. The latter effect is driven by subjects with particularly high values on Hong's Psychological Reactance Scale. These are subjects with a tendency to push back if their freedom of choice is restricted.
Keywords: cheating; lying; truth-telling; compliance; commitment; no-cheating rule; no-cheating declaration
JEL Classification: D03, D81
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation