IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/feb/natura/00403.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Making of Homo Honoratus: From Omission to Commission

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Hallsworth
  • John List
  • Robert Metcalfe
  • Ivo Vlaev

Abstract

Framing remains one of the pillars of behavioral economics. While framing effects have been found to be quite important in the lab, what is less clear is how well evidence drawn from naturally-occurring settings conforms to received laboratory insights. We use debt obligation to the UK government as a case study to explore the 'omission bias' present in decision making with large stakes. Using a natural field experiment that generates nearly 40,000 observations, we find that repayment rates are roughly doubled when the act is reframed as one of commission rather than omission. We estimate that this reframing of the perceived nature of the action generated over $1.3 million of new yield. We find evidence that this behavior may result from a deliberate 'omission strategy', rather than a behavioral bias, as is often assumed in the literature. Our natural field experiment highlights that behavioral economics is much more than a series of empirical exercises to quench the intellectual curiosity of academics.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Hallsworth & John List & Robert Metcalfe & Ivo Vlaev, 2015. "The Making of Homo Honoratus: From Omission to Commission," Natural Field Experiments 00403, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00403
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://s3.amazonaws.com/fieldexperiments-papers2/papers/00403.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thurman, Quint C, 1991. "Taxpayer Noncompliance and General Prevention: An Expansion of the Deterrence Model," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 46(2), pages 289-298.
    2. Kirchler,Erich, 2007. "The Economic Psychology of Tax Behaviour," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521876742.
    3. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Dolan, P. & Hallsworth, M. & Halpern, D. & King, D. & Metcalfe, R. & Vlaev, I., 2012. "Influencing behaviour: The mindspace way," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 264-277.
    5. Tanjim Hossain & John A. List, 2012. "The Behavioralist Visits the Factory: Increasing Productivity Using Simple Framing Manipulations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(12), pages 2151-2167, December.
    6. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. "Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
    7. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
    8. Roland Fryer & Steven Levitt & John List & Sally Sadoff, 2012. "Enhancing the Efficacy of Teacher Incentives through Loss Aversion: A Field Experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00591, The Field Experiments Website.
    9. Hallsworth, Michael & List, John A. & Metcalfe, Robert D. & Vlaev, Ivo, 2017. "The behavioralist as tax collector: Using natural field experiments to enhance tax compliance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 14-31.
    10. repec:wly:coacre:v:24:y:2007:i:1:p:171-194 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Cappelen, Alexander W. & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2013. "When do we lie?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 258-265.
    12. James C. Cox & Maroš Servátka & Radovan Vadovic, 2012. "Status Quo Effects in Fairness Games: Reciprocal Responses to Acts of Commission vs. Acts of Omission," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2012-03, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, revised Jan 2016.
    13. Matthias Sutter, 2009. "Deception Through Telling the Truth?! Experimental Evidence From Individuals and Teams," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 47-60, January.
    14. Hanemann, W Michael, 1991. "Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept: How Much Can They Differ?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 635-647, June.
    15. Kastlunger, Barbara & Dressler, Stefan G. & Kirchler, Erich & Mittone, Luigi & Voracek, Martin, 2010. "Sex differences in tax compliance: Differentiating between demographic sex, gender-role orientation, and prenatal masculinization (2D:4D)," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 542-552, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Hallsworth, Michael & List, John A. & Metcalfe, Robert D. & Vlaev, Ivo, 2017. "The behavioralist as tax collector: Using natural field experiments to enhance tax compliance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 14-31.
    2. Leonardo Bursztyn & Stefano Fiorin & Daniel Gottlieb & Martin Kanz, 2018. "Moral Incentives in Credit Card Debt Repayment: Evidence from a Field Experiment," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2018-55, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Mar 2018.
    3. Eszter Czibor & David Jimenez-Gomez & John List, 2019. "The Dozen Things Experimental Economists Should Do (More of)," Artefactual Field Experiments 00648, The Field Experiments Website.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00403. 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: (Joe Seidel). General contact details of provider: http://www.fieldexperiments.com .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.