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Separating Will from Grace: An Experiment on Conformity and Awareness in Cheating

Author

Listed:
  • Toke Fosgaard

    () (Institute of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Lars Gaarn Hansen

    () (Institute of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Marco Piovesan

    () (Institute of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

In this paper we investigate if people cheat more when they observe their peers cheating because they conform or because they become aware that cheating is something to actively consider. In our experiment subjects toss a coin in private and report the outcome (white or black). We reward only those who report white and leave them the possibility to cheat without being discovered. In our 2x2 experimental design, we manipulated subjects’ report sheet to i) suggest (or not) that cheating is an option; ii) suggest that their peers were honest (or dishonest). We find that increasing awareness of cheating as an option significantly increases the probability that women cheat; whereas men – who are already aware that cheating is an option - are not affected. When we suggest that peers have cheated, men cheat significantly more, whereas women do not.

Suggested Citation

  • Toke Fosgaard & Lars Gaarn Hansen & Marco Piovesan, 2012. "Separating Will from Grace: An Experiment on Conformity and Awareness in Cheating," IFRO Working Paper 2012/15, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:foi:wpaper:2012_15
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cheating; norms; conformity; awareness; gender differences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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