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Fairness and cheating

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  • Houser, Daniel
  • Vetter, Stefan
  • Winter, Joachim

Abstract

We present evidence from a laboratory experiment showing that individuals who believe they were treated unfairly in an interaction with another person are more likely to cheat in a subsequent unrelated game. Specifically, subjects first participated in a dictator game. They then flipped a coin in private and reported the outcome. Subjects could increase their total payoff by cheating, i.e., lying about the outcome of the coin toss. We found that subjects were more likely to cheat in reporting the outcome of the coin flip when: (1) they received either nothing or a very small transfer from the dictator; and (2) they claimed to have been treated unfairly.

Suggested Citation

  • Houser, Daniel & Vetter, Stefan & Winter, Joachim, 2012. "Fairness and cheating," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1645-1655.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:56:y:2012:i:8:p:1645-1655
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2012.08.001
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cheating; Fairness; Experimental design;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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