The Influence of Self and Social Image Concerns on Lying

35 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2020 Last revised: 8 Mar 2022

See all articles by Zvonimir Bašić

Zvonimir Bašić

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Simone Quercia

University of Bonn

Date Written: March 7, 2022

Abstract

We investigate the influence of self and social image concerns as potential sources of lying costs across two studies (n = 991). In Experiment 1, in a standard die-rolling paradigm, we exogenously manipulate self-awareness and observability, which direct the focus of a person on their private and public selves, respectively. We find that our self-awareness manipulation has no effect on overreporting in comparison to a control treatment, while our observability manipulation significantly decreases reports. In Experiment 2, we introduce a design that allows to compare the effects of self and social image concerns by directing the focus either on oneself or on an external observer while keeping constant the set of observers and their information. In line with the results from Experiment 1, people lie significantly less when their focus is on the external observer rather than on themselves.

Keywords: truth-telling, lying, private information, self-image concerns, social image concerns

JEL Classification: C91, D63, D82, D91

Suggested Citation

Bašić, Zvonimir and Quercia, Simone, The Influence of Self and Social Image Concerns on Lying (March 7, 2022). MPI Collective Goods Discussion Paper, No. 2020/18, Games and Economic Behavior, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3666771 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3666771

Zvonimir Bašić (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.coll.mpg.de

Simone Quercia

University of Bonn ( email )

Institute for Applied Microeconomics
Adenauerallee 24 - 42
Bonn, 53113
Germany

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