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Do customers return excessive change in a restaurant?

  • Azar, Ofer H.
  • Yosef, Shira
  • Bar-Eli, Michael

The article reports the results of a field experiment used to study dishonest behavior in a natural setting. Customers in a restaurant in tables of one or two diners who paid with cash received excessive change of either 10 or 40 Shekels (about $3 or $12). A majority of customers (128 out of 192) did not return the excessive change. Repeated customers returned the excessive change much more often than one-time customers. Women returned the extra change much more often than men, especially among repeated customers. Interestingly, a table with a woman and a man behaves similarly to one or two males and not to a female table. Surprisingly, tables with two diners were not significantly more likely to return the excessive change. Customers receiving 10 extra Shekels were much less likely to return them than those who received 40 extra Shekels, but it is hard to know to what extent this comes from intentional behavior versus lower likelihood to observe the extra change when it is lower. We also found evidence for variation in dishonesty as a function of the time during the day.

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

Volume (Year): 93 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 219-226

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:93:y:2013:i:c:p:219-226
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. Nina Mazar & Dan Ariely, 2006. "Dishonesty in everyday life and its policy implications," Working Papers 06-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2012. "Deception: The Role of Guilt," Working Papers 457, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  3. Gino, Francesca & Ayal, Shahar & Ariely, Dan, 2013. "Self-serving altruism? The lure of unethical actions that benefit others," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 285-292.
  4. Fosgaard, Toke Reinholt & Hansen, Lars Gaarn & Piovesan, Marco, 2013. "Separating Will from Grace: An experiment on conformity and awareness in cheating," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 279-284.
  5. Angelova, Vera & Regner, Tobias, 2013. "Do voluntary payments to advisors improve the quality of financial advice? An experimental deception game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 205-218.
  6. Sanjiv Erat & Uri Gneezy, 2012. "White Lies," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(4), pages 723-733, April.
  7. Adams, Renée B. & Ferreira, Daniel, 2009. "Women in the boardroom and their impact on governance and performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 291-309, November.
  8. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
  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.
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