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Promoting Truthful Communication Through Ex-Post Disclosure

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Document pages: 28 pages

Abstract: An extensive literature documents that providing the right incentives can reduce deception. We hypothesize that truthful communication can be promoted by the threat of ex-post disclosure, even in the absence of financial consequences. Our experiment identifies the effect of ex-post disclosure using a sender-receiver game in which the receiver can detect a dishonest message in one condition, but not in another. The advantages of a laboratory experiment are that it rules out reputational concerns by providing full anonymity and holds constant information availability. We find that ex-post disclosure almost doubles the incidence of truth-telling. Interestingly, the effect of ex-post disclosure on truthful communication is present for males, but not for females.

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