Lying and Social Norms: A Lab-in-the-Field Experiment with Children

27 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2021

See all articles by Despoina Alempaki

Despoina Alempaki

University of Warwick

Genyue Fu

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jingcheng Fu

National University of Singapore (NUS), Department of Economics

Date Written: March 13, 2021

Abstract

We conduct a lab-in-the-field experiment with 567 children, aged four to eleven, in which we investigate the effect of social norms on lying and test whether norm sensitivity changes with age. Children think about a number between 1 and 6 in private, then roll a die, and report whether the number that came up is the same as the one they thought of. Just before making their report, we expose children to different empirical and normative information prescribing lying or honesty. We show that a normative intervention suggesting other children approve of honesty effectively reduces lying. We find limited evidence of the influence of our empirical interventions: information suggesting other children report honestly is effective only for younger children, while information suggesting other children report dishonestly does not influence lying patterns. We further observe that, although lying is omnipresent across all age groups, honesty significantly increases with age.

Keywords: truth-telling, lying, social norms, children, lab-in-the-field experiment

JEL Classification: C9 D8

Suggested Citation

Alempaki, Despoina and Fu, Genyue and Fu, Jingcheng, Lying and Social Norms: A Lab-in-the-Field Experiment with Children (March 13, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3803794 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3803794

Despoina Alempaki (Contact Author)

University of Warwick ( email )

Scarman Road
Coventry, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Genyue Fu

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jingcheng Fu

National University of Singapore (NUS), Department of Economics ( email )

Singapore
Singapore

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