Will I Tell You That You Are Smart (Dumb)? Deceiving Others About Their IQ or About a Random Draw

47 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2021 Last revised: 3 Aug 2022

See all articles by Giovanni Burro

Giovanni Burro

Heidelberg University - Alfred Weber Institute for Economics

Alessandro Castagnetti

University of Warwick

Date Written: March 3, 2021

Abstract

We investigate whether individuals' deception rates differ by whether the messages they send to others are about the latter's relative ability or not. We also study whether they are more likely to deceive when it is in their interest to make others believe that they are either of high ability or low ability. In the experiment, participants play a sender-receiver game. The experiment features a 2x2 factorial design. First, we vary whether the state is determined by the receiver's relative performance in an IQ test or it is about a randomly drawn number. Second, monetary incentives, which are common knowledge, are such that the sender is better off (worse off) when the receiver's action is about him being of high (low) relative ability, while the receiver benefits from selecting the action that matches his true ability. We do not find systematic differences in the deception rates due to the ego-relevance of the condition. However, we find that senders believe they are more likely to move the beliefs of the receivers when they send a deceiving message saying that the receiver is of high ability.

Keywords: cheating, deception, lying costs, ability versus luck

JEL Classification: C92, D83, D90, D91

Suggested Citation

Burro, Giovanni and Castagnetti, Alessandro, Will I Tell You That You Are Smart (Dumb)? Deceiving Others About Their IQ or About a Random Draw (March 3, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3800954 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3800954

Giovanni Burro (Contact Author)

Heidelberg University - Alfred Weber Institute for Economics

Bergheimer Str. 58
Heidelberg, 69115
Germany

Alessandro Castagnetti

University of Warwick

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