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Unethical Behavior and Group Identity in Contests

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  • Julien Benistant

    () (Univ Lyon, Université Lumière Lyon 2, GATE L-SE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France)

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    () (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE L-SE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France)

Abstract

Using a real-effort experiment, we studied how minimal group identity affects unethical behavior in a contest game. We varied (i) whether individuals had to report their own output or the output of their competitor, (ii) whether group identity was induced or not, and (iii) whether pairs of competitors shared the same group identity or not. We show that individuals misreported in the same proportion and to the same extent by inflating their output or by decreasing their opponent’s output. Misreporting was affected neither by the competitor’s group identity nor by the individual’s beliefs about misreporting. This suggests that in such competitive settings, unethical behavior is mainly driven by an unconditional desire to win.

Suggested Citation

  • Julien Benistant & Marie Claire Villeval, 2017. "Unethical Behavior and Group Identity in Contests," Working Papers 1725, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
  • Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:1725
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unethical behavior; lying; group identity; competition; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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