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Cheating and incentives in a performance context: Evidence from a field experiment on children

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  • Alan, Sule
  • Ertac, Seda
  • Gumren, Mert

Abstract

We study cheating behavior in a large sample of elementary school children in the context of a creative performance task, in the presence and absence of performance incentives. Our data come from a sample of 720 elementary school children with an average age of 8, and contain rich information on a large set of correlates, such as risk and time preferences, IQ, gender and family characteristics. We document that children with higher IQ and higher socioeconomic status have a higher likelihood of cheating. We find that the presence of incentives for better performance does not increase cheating behavior. We also document an interesting interaction between altruism and incentives: altruistic students cheat significantly less in the presence of incentives.

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  • Alan, Sule & Ertac, Seda & Gumren, Mert, 2020. "Cheating and incentives in a performance context: Evidence from a field experiment on children," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 681-701.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:179:y:2020:i:c:p:681-701
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.03.015
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    Cited by:

    1. Johannes Abeler & Armin Falk & Fabian Kosse, 2021. "Malleability of Preferences for Honesty," CESifo Working Paper Series 9033, CESifo.
    2. Bilen, Eren & Matros, Alexander, 2021. "Online cheating amid COVID-19," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 182(C), pages 196-211.
    3. Shuguang Jiang & Marie Claire Villeval, 2022. "Dishonesty in Developing Countries -What Can We Learn From Experiments?," Working Papers hal-03899654, HAL.
    4. Klijn, Flip & Mdaghri Alaoui, Mehdi & Vorsatz, Marc, 2022. "Academic integrity in on-line exams: Evidence from a randomized field experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 93(C).
    5. Cao, Qian & Li, Jianbiao & Niu, Xiaofei, 2022. "White lies in tournaments," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 96(C).
    6. Andrej Gill & Matthias Heinz & Heiner Schumacher & Matthias Sutter, 2023. "Social Preferences of Young Professionals and the Financial Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 69(7), pages 3905-3919, July.
    7. Bucciol, Alessandro & Cicognani, Simona & Montinari, Natalia, 2024. "It's time to cheat!," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 108(C).
    8. Burro, Giovanni & Castagnetti, Alessandro, 2022. "Will I tell you that you are smart (dumb)? Deceiving Others about their IQ or about a Random Draw," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 100(C).
    9. Abeler, Johannes & Falk, Armin & Kosse, Fabian, 2021. "Malleability of Preferences for Honesty," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 296, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cheating; Incentives; Children; Field experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

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