Lie Aversion, Anonymity and Social Distance: Are People More Willing to Lie Using a Mobile Phone?

31 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2020

Date Written: May 10, 2020

Abstract

We report the results of an experiment designed to test if individuals are more dishonest when using a smartphone, desktop computer or pen and paper. We explore this in both a setting where dishonesty benefits another (mutual-gain), and one where it harms another (zero-sum). We find that dishonesty is higher with a smartphone than with pen and paper in both the mutual-gain and zero-sum settings. With a desktop computer, dishonesty is relatively high in the mutual-gain setting but low in the zero-sum setting. We interpret our findings in terms of the influence the communication media has on perceived social distance and anonymity.

Keywords: lie aversion; dishonesty; paper experiment; online experiment; smart phone experiment

JEL Classification: C72

Suggested Citation

Cartwright, Edward and Xue, Lian, Lie Aversion, Anonymity and Social Distance: Are People More Willing to Lie Using a Mobile Phone? (May 10, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3598023 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3598023

Edward Cartwright (Contact Author)

De Montfort University ( email )

The Gateway
Leicester, LE1 9BH
United Kingdom

Lian Xue

Wuhan University ( email )

Wuhan
China

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