Cheating more for less: Upward social comparisons motivate the poorly compensated to cheat
Intuitively, people should cheat more when cheating is more lucrative, but we find that the effect of performance-based pay-rates on dishonesty depends on how readily people can compare their pay-rate to that of others. In Experiment 1, participants were paid 5 cents or 25 cents per self-reported point in a trivia task, and half were aware that they could have received the alternative pay-rate. Lower pay-rates increased cheating when the prospect of a higher pay-rate was salient. Experiment 2 illustrates that this effect is driven by the ease with which poorly compensated participants can compare their pay to that of others who earn a higher pay-rate. Our results suggest that low pay-rates are, in and of themselves, unlikely to promote dishonesty. Instead, it is the salience of upward social comparisons that encourages the poorly compensated to cheat.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 123 (2014)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gary S. Becker, 1968.
"Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169-169.
- David Card & Alex Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2010.
"Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction,"
1269, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- David Card & Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2012. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2981-3003, October.
- Card, David & Mas, Alexandre & Moretti, Enrico & Saez, Emmanuel, 2010. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt48z7z9dn, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
- David Card & Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," NBER Working Papers 16396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003.
"Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 843-877.
- Levitt, Steven D., 2002. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt2wj7v1j4, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
- Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating," NBER Working Papers 9413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
- Blount, Sally & Bazerman, Max H., 1996. "The inconsistent evaluation of absolute versus comparative payoffs in labor supply and bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 227-240, August.
- Shleifer, Andrei, 2004.
"Does Competition Destroy Ethical Behavior?,"
27867243, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1988. "Fairness and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 44-49, May.
- Jason Snyder, 2010. "Gaming the Liver Transplant Market," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 546-568.
- Mehta, Judith & Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1994. "The Nature of Salience: An Experimental Investigation of Pure Coordination Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 658-673, June.
- Alexandre Mas, 2006.
"Pay, Reference Points, and Police Performance,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 783-821.
- Greenberg, Jerald, 1993. "Stealing in the Name of Justice: Informational and Interpersonal Moderators of Theft Reactions to Underpayment Inequity," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 81-103, February.
- Francesca Gino & Lamar Pierce, 2010. "Lying to Level the Playing Field: Why People May Dishonestly Help or Hurt Others to Create Equity," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 89-103, September.
- Nina Mazar & Dan Ariely, 2006. "Dishonesty in everyday life and its policy implications," Working Papers 06-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
- Gneezy, Uri & Rockenbach, Bettina & Serra-Garcia, Marta, 2013. "Measuring lying aversion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 293-300.
- Ambrose, Maureen L. & Seabright, Mark A. & Schminke, Marshall, 2002. "Sabotage in the workplace: The role of organizational injustice," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 947-965, September.
- Shalvi, Shaul & Dana, Jason & Handgraaf, Michel J.J. & De Dreu, Carsten K.W., 2011. "Justified ethicality: Observing desired counterfactuals modifies ethical perceptions and behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 181-190, July.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:123:y:2014:i:2:p:101-109. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.