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when do people tell the truth?

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From a recent article in Econometrica by Johanes Abeler, Daniel Nosenzo, and Collin Raymond:

Private information is at the heart of many economic activities. For decades, economists have assumed that individuals are willing to misreport private information if this maximizes their material payoff. We combine data from 90 experimental studies in economics, psychology, and sociology, and show that, in fact, people lie surprisingly little. We then formalize a wide range of potential explanations for the observed behavior, identify testable predictions that can distinguish between the models, and conduct new experiments to do so. Our empirical evidence suggests that a preference for being seen as honest and a preference for being honest are the main motivations for truth‐telling.

Comment: Remember when Adam Smith wrote in Theory of Moral Sentiments that people want to be loved and lovely? Well, there you go. The broader point is that in an industrialized society, at least, people are not Hobbesian mini-tyrants. Rather, people seem to want goodness and often try to be good. An interesting question is how sociologists, who focus on social conflict, can process this sort of result.

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Written by fabiorojas

October 29, 2019 at 12:33 am

Posted in uncategorized

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