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Do cheaters in the lab also cheat in the field?

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  • Potters, Jan
  • Stoop, Jan

Abstract

In this paper, we study the correlation between cheating in the lab and cheating in the field. We conduct a laboratory experiment using a variant of the Mind game (Jiang, 2013). Payoffs above a certain threshold are indicative of cheating behavior. Subjects are paid their earnings by bank transfer. A fraction of the subjects is deliberately paid more than their earnings. We send subjects a reminder e-mail stating their earnings and asking them if they have received their payment. We find a significant correlation of 0.31 between cheating in the lab and in the field. Subjects with higher payoffs in the Mind game are also less likely to report the overpayment. Our results speak to the lab-field generalizability of cheating behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Potters, Jan & Stoop, Jan, 2016. "Do cheaters in the lab also cheat in the field?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 26-33.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:87:y:2016:i:c:p:26-33
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2016.03.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zhixin Dai & Fabio Galeotti & Marie Claire Villeval, 2018. "Cheating in the Lab Predicts Fraud in the Field: An Experiment in Public Transportation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(3), pages 1081-1100, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Laboratory experiment; Natural field experiment; Cheating;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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