Because I (Don’t) Deserve It: Entitlement and Lying Behavior
45 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2020 Last revised: 25 Feb 2021
Date Written: February 25, 2021
We study the effect of entitlement on the willingness to lie. We set up a model of lying where individuals feel more or less entitled to their endowment depending on how they earned it. When given the opportunity to lie to keep their endowment, individuals who feel more entitled are encouraged to lie while others are discouraged. To test the model predictions we use a laboratory experiment where we compare the lying behavior of participants endowed with a high endowment and participants endowed with a low endowment. In one treatment, the allocation of the endowment is decided by participants' performance, and in the other, it is determined by a random draw. Our study identifies that deservingness influences lying in an intuitive direction: when participants’ performance determines income, those who earn less money lie less than those who earn more. We do not find differences in lying when participants perform the same task but lie to keep windfall endowments.
Keywords: Lying, Dishonesty, Deservingness, Reference Points, Psychological Game Theory
JEL Classification: C91, D02, D90
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation