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Cheating in the Lab Predicts Fraud in the Field: An Experiment in Public Transportation

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  • Zhixin Dai

    (China Financial Policy Research Center, School of Finance, Renmin University of China, Be¼ing 100872, China, Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE, Ecully F-69130, France)

  • Fabio Galeotti

    (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE, Ecully F-69130, France)

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE, Ecully F-69130, France, IZA, 53113 Bonn, Germany, Department of Public Finance, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria)

Abstract

We conduct an artefactual field experiment using a diversified sample of passengers of public transportation to study attitudes toward dishonesty. We find that the diversity of behavior in terms of (dis)honesty in laboratory tasks and in the field correlate. Moreover, individuals who have just been fined in the field behave more honestly in the lab than the other fare dodgers, except when context is introduced. Overall, we show that simple tests of dishonesty in the lab can predict moral firmness in life, although fraudsters who care about social image cheat less when behavior can be verified ex post by the experimenter.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:64:y:2018:i:3:p:1081-1100
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.2016.2616
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    dishonesty; fare dodging; field experiment; external validity; public transportation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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