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Dishonesty: From Parents to Children

Author

Listed:
  • Daniel Houser
  • John List
  • Marco Piovesan
  • Anya Samek
  • Joachim Winter

Abstract

Acts of dishonesty permeate life. Understanding their origins, and what mechanisms help to attenuate such acts is an underexplored area of research. This study takes an economics approach to explore the propensity of individuals to act dishonestly across different contexts. We conduct an experiment that includes both parents and their young children as subjects, exploring the roles of moral cost and scrutiny on dishonest behavior. We find that the highest level of dishonesty occurs in settings where the parent acts alone and the dishonest act benefits the child. In this spirit, there is also an interesting, quite different, effect of children on parents' behavior: parents act more honestly under the scrutiny of daughters than under the scrutiny of sons. This finding sheds new light on the origins of the widely documented gender differences in cheating behavior observed among adults, where a typical result is that females are more honest than males.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Houser & John List & Marco Piovesan & Anya Samek & Joachim Winter, 2015. "Dishonesty: From Parents to Children," Artefactual Field Experiments 00418, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:artefa:00418
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jeborg:v:143:y:2017:i:c:p:28-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Martin G. Kocher & Simeon Schudy & Lisa Spantig, 2016. "I Lie? We Lie! Why? Experimental Evidence on a Dishonesty Shift in Groups," CESifo Working Paper Series 6008, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Martin Dufwenberg Jr. & Martin Dufwenberg, 2016. "Lies in Disguise - A Theoretical Analysis of Cheating," CESifo Working Paper Series 6208, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Galeotti, Fabio & Kline, Reuben & Orsini, Raimondello, 2017. "When foul play seems fair: Exploring the link between just deserts and honesty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 451-467.
    5. repec:eee:jfinec:v:126:y:2017:i:3:p:543-562 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Johannes Abeler & Daniele Nosenzo & Collin Raymond, 2016. "Preferences for Truth-Telling," CESifo Working Paper Series 6087, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. repec:eee:ecolet:v:162:y:2018:i:c:p:73-75 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Drupp, Moritz A. & Khadjavi, Menusch & Quaas, Martin F., 2016. "Truth-telling and the regulator: Evidence from a field experiment with commercial fishermen," Kiel Working Papers 2063, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    9. Garbarino, Ellen & Slonim, Robert & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2016. "Loss Aversion and Lying Behavior: Theory, Estimation and Empirical Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 10395, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Hermann, Daniel & Ostermaier, Andreas, 2018. "Be close to me and I will be honest: How social distance influences honesty," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 340, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    11. Roland, G�rard & Yang, David, 2017. "China's Lost Generation: Changes in Beliefs and their Intergenerational Transmission," CEPR Discussion Papers 12053, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Sanjit Dhami, 2017. "Human Ethics and Virtues: Rethinking the Homo-Economicus Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 6836, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:511-529 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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