Author(s)  
Johannes Abeler
Armin Falk
Fabian Kosse

Reporting private information is a key part of economic decision making. A recent literature has found that many people have a preference for honest reporting, contrary to usual economic assumptions. In this paper, we investigate whether preferences for honesty are malleable and what determines them. We experimentally measure preferences for honesty in a sample of children. As our main result, we provide causal evidence on the effect of the social environment by randomly enrolling children in a year-long mentoring programme. We find that, about four years after the end of the programme, mentored children are significantly more honest.

Publication Type  
Working Paper
File Description  
First version, April 12, 2021
JEL Codes  
C90: Design of Experiments: General
D90: Intertemporal Choice and Growth: General
D64: Altruism; Philanthropy
D82: Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
Keywords  
honesty
lying
truth-telling
Formation of preferences
experiments with children