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Separating Will from Grace: An experiment on conformity and awareness in cheating

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  • Fosgaard, Toke Reinholt
  • Hansen, Lars Gaarn
  • Piovesan, Marco

Abstract

In this paper we investigate if people cheat more when they observe their peers cheating because they conform or because they become aware that cheating is something to actively consider. In our experiment subjects toss a coin in private and report the outcome (white or black). We reward only those who report white and leave them the possibility to cheat without being discovered. In our 2×2 experimental design, we manipulated subjects’ report sheet to (i) suggest (or not) that cheating is an option; (ii) suggest that their peers were honest (or dishonest). We find that increasing awareness of cheating as an option significantly increases the probability that women cheat; whereas men – who are already aware that cheating is an option – are not affected. When we suggest that peers have cheated, men cheat significantly more, whereas women do not.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 93 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 279-284

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:93:y:2013:i:c:p:279-284

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

Related research

Keywords: Cheating; Norms; Conformity; Awareness; Gender differences;

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References

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  1. Shalvi, Shaul & Dana, Jason & Handgraaf, Michel J.J. & De Dreu, Carsten K.W., 2011. "Justified ethicality: Observing desired counterfactuals modifies ethical perceptions and behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 181-190, July.
  2. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
  3. Urs Fischbacher & Franziska Heusi, 2008. "Lies in Disguise. An experimental study on cheating," TWI Research Paper Series 40, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
  4. Sanjiv Erat & Uri Gneezy, 2012. "White Lies," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(4), pages 723-733, April.
  5. Alessandro Bucciol & Marco Piovesan, 2008. "Luck or Cheating? A Field Experiment on Honesty with Children," Discussion Papers 08-28, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  6. Iris Vermeir & Patrick Kenhove, 2008. "Gender Differences in Double Standards," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 81(2), pages 281-295, August.
  7. Matthias Sutter, 2009. "Deception Through Telling the Truth?! Experimental Evidence From Individuals and Teams," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 47-60, 01.
  8. Gerald J. Pruckner & Rupert Sausgruber, 2008. "Honesty on the Streets - A Natural Field Experiment on Newspaper Purchasing," Working Papers 2009-24, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  9. Bucciol, Alessandro & Landini, Fabio & Piovesan, Marco, 2013. "Unethical behavior in the field: Demographic characteristics and beliefs of the cheater," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 248-257.
  10. Nina Mazar & Dan Ariely, 2006. "Dishonesty in everyday life and its policy implications," Working Papers 06-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  11. Erat, Sanjiv, 2013. "Avoiding lying: The case of delegated deception," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 273-278.
  12. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
  13. Barbara Ritter, 2006. "Can Business Ethics be Trained? A Study of the Ethical Decision-making Process in Business Students," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 68(2), pages 153-164, October.
  14. Dreber, Anna & Johannesson, Magnus, 2008. "Gender differences in deception," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 197-199, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Galanis, Spyros & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2014. "Concern for relative standing and deception," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 1403, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  2. Gneezy, Uri & Rockenbach, Bettina & Serra-Garcia, Marta, 2013. "Measuring lying aversion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 293-300.
  3. Pascual-Ezama, David & Prelec, Drazen & Dunfield, Derek, 2013. "Motivation, money, prestige and cheats," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 367-373.
  4. Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2013. "Deception: The role of guilt," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 227-232.
  5. Azar, Ofer H. & Yosef, Shira & Bar-Eli, Michael, 2013. "Do customers return excessive change in a restaurant?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 219-226.
  6. Reuben, Ernesto & Stephenson, Matt, 2013. "Nobody likes a rat: On the willingness to report lies and the consequences thereof," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 384-391.
  7. Bucciol, Alessandro & Landini, Fabio & Piovesan, Marco, 2013. "Unethical behavior in the field: Demographic characteristics and beliefs of the cheater," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 248-257.

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