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License to Cheat: Voluntary Regulation and Ethical Behavior

Author

Listed:
  • Francesca Gino

    () (Negotiation, Organizations and Markets Unit, Harvard Business School, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts 02163)

  • Erin L. Krupka

    () (School of Information, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109)

  • Roberto A. Weber

    () (Department of Economics, University of Zurich, CH-8006 Zurich, Switzerland)

Abstract

Although monitoring and regulation can be used to combat socially costly unethical conduct, their intended targets can often avoid regulation or hide their behavior. This surrenders at least part of the effectiveness of regulatory policies to firms' and individuals' decisions to voluntarily submit to regulation. We study individuals' decisions to avoid monitoring or regulation and thus enhance their ability to engage in unethical conduct. We conduct a laboratory experiment in which participants engage in a competitive task and can decide between having the opportunity to misreport their performance or having their performance verified by an external monitor. To study the effect of social factors on the willingness to be subject to monitoring, we vary whether participants make this decision simultaneously with others or sequentially, as well as whether the decision is private or public. Our results show that the opportunity to avoid being submitted to regulation produces more unethical conduct than situations in which regulation is either exogenously imposed or entirely absent. This paper was accepted by Uri Gneezy, behavioral economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesca Gino & Erin L. Krupka & Roberto A. Weber, 2013. "License to Cheat: Voluntary Regulation and Ethical Behavior," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(10), pages 2187-2203, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:59:y:2013:i:10:p:2187-2203
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1120.1699
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Houser & John List & Marco Piovesan & Anya Samek & Joachim Winter, 2015. "On the Origins of Dishonesty: from Parents to Children," Artefactual Field Experiments 00449, The Field Experiments Website.
    2. Houser, Daniel & List, John A. & Piovesan, Marco & Samek, Anya & Winter, Joachim, 2016. "Dishonesty: From parents to children," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 242-254.
    3. Sanjit Dhami, 2017. "Human Ethics and Virtues: Rethinking the Homo-Economicus Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 6836, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Lohse, Tim & Dwenger, Nadja, 2016. "Do Individuals Put Effort into Lying? Evidence From a Compliance Experiment," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145616, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Glenn Dutcher & Daniela Gl�tzle-R�tzler & Dmitry Ryvkin, 2016. "Don't hate the player, hate the game: Uncovering the foundations of cheating in contests," Working Papers 2016-29, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    6. Gibson, Rajna & Tanner, Carmen & Wagner, Alexander F, 2014. "The Choice of Honesty: An Experiment Regarding Heterogeneous Responses to Situational Social Norms," CEPR Discussion Papers 9880, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Sascha Behnk & Iván Barreda-Tarrazona & Aurora García-Gallego, 2017. "An experimental test of reporting systems for deception," Working Papers 2017/11, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).

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