Lying Behavior When the Payoffs are Shared with Charity: Experimental Evidence

14 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2019 Last revised: 11 Apr 2021

See all articles by Scott Chua

Scott Chua

Yale-NUS College; National University of Singapore

Jessica Chang


Guillem Riambau

University of Barcelona

Date Written: January 29, 2021


We investigate lying behavior when lying is undetectable and payoffs are split with charity. 524 participants roll a die in private, report the outcome, and receive the monetary equivalent of their reported number, i.e., there is a clear incentive to lie. Participants are randomly assigned to share all, some, or none of this payoff with a charity of their choice. This allows us to examine how lying behavior changes with the share of payoffs going to charity. Our results are as follows: (i) there are participants in every group who lie to inflate their reported number; (ii) participants with no share of the payoff lie much less than participants with some share, no matter how small; and (iii) post-experiment surveys reveal that participants who keep the whole payoff are much less likely to admit to having cheated than all other participants. Finally, our data suggests that lying is not correlated with any observable sociodemographic characteristic.

Keywords: Dishonesty, Charity, Experiment

JEL Classification: C91, D63, D64

Suggested Citation

Chua, Scott and Chang, Jessica and Riambau, Guillem, Lying Behavior When the Payoffs are Shared with Charity: Experimental Evidence (January 29, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Scott Chua

Yale-NUS College ( email )

16 College Avenue West
Singapore, 138527

National University of Singapore ( email )


Jessica Chang

Yale-NUS ( email )


Guillem Riambau (Contact Author)

University of Barcelona ( email )

Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 585
Barcelona, 08007

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics