Content Matters: The Effects of Commitment Requests on Truth-Telling

30 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2019 Last revised: 16 Aug 2019

See all articles by Tobias Cagala

Tobias Cagala

Deutsche Bundesbank

Ulrich Glogowsky

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Johannes Rincke

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg

Date Written: August 5, 2019

Abstract

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

Cagala, Tobias and Glogowsky, Ulrich and Rincke, Johannes, Content Matters: The Effects of Commitment Requests on Truth-Telling (August 5, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3432445 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3432445

Tobias Cagala

Deutsche Bundesbank ( email )

Wilhelm-Epstein-Str. 14
Frankfurt/Main, 60431
Germany

Ulrich Glogowsky (Contact Author)

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) ( email )

Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
Munich, DE Bavaria 80539
Germany

Johannes Rincke

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg ( email )

Schloßplatz 4
Erlangen, DE Bavaria 91054
Germany

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