It's Not A Lie if You Believe the Norm Does Not Apply: Conditional Norm-Following with Strategic Beliefs

57 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2019 Last revised: 9 Nov 2020

See all articles by Cristina Bicchieri

Cristina Bicchieri

University of Pennsylvania

Eugen Dimant

University of Pennsylvania; CESifo

Silvia Sonderegger

University of Bristol - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 9, 2020

Abstract

We experimentally investigate the mechanisms with which strategic distortion of individual beliefs about dominant norms of honesty arise. Embedded in the context of lying, we systematically vary both the nature of elicited beliefs (descriptive about what others do, or normative about what others approve of) and a subject's anticipation of an forthcoming lying opportunity at the belief-formation stage. We show that not all belief distortions are created equal and our empirical findings are consistent with the predictions of a dual-self model in which conditional norm-followers strategically distort their beliefs to justify self-serving behavior. Taken together, we show why, when, and what norm-relevant beliefs are strategically distorted and discuss the managerial implications of our findings.

Keywords: Lying, Social Norms, Strategic Beliefs, Uncertainty

JEL Classification: C72, C91, D8, D9

Suggested Citation

Bicchieri, Cristina and Dimant, Eugen and Sonderegger, Silvia, It's Not A Lie if You Believe the Norm Does Not Apply: Conditional Norm-Following with Strategic Beliefs (October 9, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3326146 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3326146

Cristina Bicchieri

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-898-5820 (Phone)

Eugen Dimant (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/view/eugendimant/

CESifo ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich
Germany

Silvia Sonderegger

University of Bristol - Department of Economics ( email )

8 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 ITN
United Kingdom

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