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Competition, Information, and the Erosion of Morals

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  • Julien Benistant

    (ISC-MJ - Institut des sciences cognitives Marc Jeannerod - Centre de neuroscience cognitive - UMR5229 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Fabio Galeotti

    (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon - Saint-Etienne - ENS de Lyon - École normale supérieure de Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UJM - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Étienne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon - Saint-Etienne - ENS de Lyon - École normale supérieure de Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UJM - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Étienne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

We study the impact of competition on morals using a dynamic variant of the die-under-the-cup task. Players can repeatedly misreport the outputs of consecutive die rolls to earn more money, either under an individual piece-rate pay scheme or in a two-player tournament. In this dynamic setting, we disentangle the effect of the incentive scheme and the effect of information provision about one's relative performance, by comparing settings with continuous vs. final ex post feedback on the counterpart's reported outcome. We find that individuals lie more under competitive rather than non-competitive incentive schemes, but only if both players can cheat in the tournament. Continuous feedback on the counterpart's reports does not increase cheating in the tournament, while it does under the piece-rate scheme. These findings shed light on the effects that different competition and information policies have on morals in occupational settings.

Suggested Citation

  • Julien Benistant & Fabio Galeotti & Marie Claire Villeval, 2022. "Competition, Information, and the Erosion of Morals," Post-Print hal-03805532, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-03805532
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2022.10.008
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    3. Fabian Kosse & Ranjita Rajan & Michela Tincani, 2023. "The Persistent Effect of Competition on Prosociality," Working Papers 2023-028, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    4. Alexander Coutts & Boon Han Koh & Zahra Murad, 2024. "The signals we give: Performance feedback, gender, and competition," Working Papers in Economics & Finance 2024-02, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth Business School, Economics and Finance Subject Group.
    5. Fabian Kosse & Ranjita Rajan & Michela Tincani & Michela Maria Tincani, 2023. "The Persistent Effect of Competition on Prosociality," CESifo Working Paper Series 10779, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dishonesty; feedback; peer effects; competitive incentives; experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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