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Dishonesty and mandatory mask wearing in the COVID-19 pandemic

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  • Tobol, Yossef
  • Siniver, Erez
  • Yaniv, Gideon

Abstract

In an attempt to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, an increasing number of countries, including Israel, have made wearing masks mandatory for their citizens not just in closed public places but also while walking in the streets. Failing to comply with this regulation entails a fine enforced by the police. Still, while many passersby do wear a mask that covers both their mouth and nose, others wear a mask improperly around their chin or neck or walk the streets wearing no mask at all. We speculate that the former passersby prepare themselves for a possible encounter with a police officer, in which case they could lie and claim that their mask unnoticeably slipped down from its proper position. The present paper reports the results of a field experiment designed to examine the hypothesis that, given the opportunity, passersby who wear their mask around their chin or neck are more likely to lie than those who wear no mask at all, although intuition may suggest otherwise. Incentivizing passersby’s dishonesty with the Die-Under-the-Cup (DUCT) task, the experiment results support our hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Tobol, Yossef & Siniver, Erez & Yaniv, Gideon, 2020. "Dishonesty and mandatory mask wearing in the COVID-19 pandemic," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 197(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:197:y:2020:i:c:s0165176520303773
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2020.109617
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Specific pandemics > Covid-19 > Behavioral issues > Trust

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    COVID-19 pandemic; Dishonesty; Lying; Die-Under-the-Cup task;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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