Malleable Lies: Communication and Cooperation in a High Stakes TV Game Show

Abstract : We investigate the credibility of nonbinding preplay statements about cooperative behavior, using data from a high-stakes TV game show in which contestants play a variant on the classic Prisoner’s Dilemma. We depart from the conventional binary approach of classifying statements as promises or not, and propose a more fine-grained two-by-two typology inspired by the idea that lying aversion leads defectors to prefer statements that are malleable to ex-post interpretation as truths. Our empirical analysis shows that statements that carry an element of conditionality or implicitness are associated with a lower likelihood of cooperation, and confirms that malleability is a good criterion for judging the credibility of cheap talk.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02110662
Contributor : Isabelle Celet <>
Submitted on : Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 2:54:32 PM
Last modification on : Friday, April 26, 2019 - 1:35:29 AM

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Uyanga Turmunkh, Martijn van den Assem, Dennie van Dolder. Malleable Lies: Communication and Cooperation in a High Stakes TV Game Show. Management Science, INFORMS, 2019, ⟨10.1287/mnsc.2018.3159⟩. ⟨hal-02110662⟩

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