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Embezzlement and guilt aversion

Author

Listed:
  • Giuseppe Attanasi

    (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - UNS - Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (1965 - 2019) - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UniCA - Université Côte d'Azur)

  • Claire Rimbaud

    (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 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - 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 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Étienne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

Psychological game theory can contribute to renew the analysis of unethical behavior by providing insights on the nature of the moral costs of dishonesty. We investigate the moral costs of embezzlement in situations where donors need intermediaries to transfer their donations to recipients and where donations can be embezzled before they reach the recipients. We design a novel three-player Embezzlement Mini-Game to study whether intermediaries in the laboratory suffer from guilt aversion and whether guilt aversion affects the decision to embezzle. We show that the proportion of guilt-averse intermediaries is the same irrespective of the direction of guilt and guilt aversion reduces embezzlement. Structural estimates indicate no difference in the effect of guilt aversion toward the donor and toward the recipient on intermediaries' behavior. This is striking as embezzlement affects the earnings of the recipient but not those of the donor. It shows that guilt aversion matters even when decisions have no direct monetary consequences. JEL code: C91

Suggested Citation

  • Giuseppe Attanasi & Claire Rimbaud & Marie Claire Villeval, 2019. "Embezzlement and guilt aversion," Post-Print halshs-02073561, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-02073561
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.02.002
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://shs.hal.science/halshs-02073561
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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Martin Dufwenberg & Stefano Papa & Laura Razzolini, 2022. "Guilt Aversion: Eve versus Adam," Working Papers in Public Economics 220, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Economics and Law.
    2. Attanasi, Giuseppe & Rimbaud, Claire & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2023. "Guilt aversion in (new) games: Does partners' payoff vulnerability matter?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 690-717.
    3. Giuseppe Attanasi & Kene Boun My & Nikolaos Georgantzís & Miguel Ginés, 2019. "Strategic Ethics: Altruism without the Other-Regarding Confound," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 70(6), pages 967-998.
    4. Marie Claire Villeval, 2019. "Comportements (non) éthiques et stratégies morales," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 70(6), pages 1021-1046.
    5. Rossella Ferrario & Elena Manzoni, 2022. "Emotions matter for policy-making: An example on tacit collusion and guilt," Journal of Behavioral Economics for Policy, Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics (SABE), vol. 6(S1), pages 67-72, July.
    6. Parra, Daniel & Muñoz-Herrera, Manuel & Palacio, Luis A., 2021. "The limits of transparency in reducing corruption," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 95(C).
    7. Abraham, Diya & Corazzini, Luca & Fišar, Miloš & Reggiani, Tommaso, 2023. "Coordinating donations via an intermediary: The destructive effect of a sunk overhead cost," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 211(C), pages 287-304.
    8. Claire Rimbaud & Alice Soldà, 2021. "Avoiding the Cost of your Conscience: Belief Dependent Preferences and Information Acquisition," Working Papers halshs-03325963, HAL.
    9. Khalmetski, Kiryl, 2019. "Evasion of guilt in expert advice," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 296-310.
    10. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2019. "Psychological Game Theory," Working Papers 646, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    11. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2022. "Belief-Dependent Motivations and Psychological Game Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 833-882, September.
    12. Kaisa Kotakorpi & Satu Metsälampi & Topi Miettinen & Tuomas Nurminen, 2021. "The role of reporting institutions and image motivation in tax evasion and incidence," Working Papers 2133, Tampere University, Faculty of Management and Business, Economics.
    13. Banerjee, Ritwik & Boly, Amadou & Gillanders, Robert, 2022. "Anti-tax evasion, anti-corruption and public good provision: An experimental analysis of policy spillovers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 197(C), pages 179-194.
    14. Dhami, Sanjit & Wei, Mengxing & al-Nowaihi, Ali, 2023. "Classical and belief-based gift exchange models: Theory and evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 171-196.
    15. Kaisa Kotakorpiⓡ & Tuomas Nurminenⓡ & Topi Miettinen ⓡ & Satu Metsälampiⓡ & Kaisa Kotakorpi, 2022. "Bearing the Burden - Implications of Tax Reporting Institutions and Image Concerns on Evasion and Incidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 9791, CESifo.
    16. Anabel Doñate-Buendía & Aurora García-Gallego, 2023. "Watching the embezzler: an experiment on unethical behaviour," Journal of Behavioral Economics for Policy, Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics (SABE), vol. 7(2), pages 47-53, December.
    17. Giuseppe Attanasi & Claire Rimbaud & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2020. "Guilt Aversion in (New) Games: the Role of Vulnerability," GREDEG Working Papers 2020-15, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
    18. Daniel Parra & Manuel Munoz-Herrera & Luis Palacio, 2019. "The limits of transparency as a means of reducing corruption," Working Papers 20190026, New York University Abu Dhabi, Department of Social Science, revised May 2019.
    19. Diya Elizabeth Abraham & Luca Corazzini & Miloš Fišar & Tommaso Reggiani, 2021. "Delegation and Overhead Aversion with Multiple Threshold Public Goods," MUNI ECON Working Papers 2021-14, Masaryk University, revised Feb 2023.
    20. Richard Kasa & Gábor Réthi & György Hauber & Krisztina Szegedi, 2023. "Simulation of Corruption Decisions—An Agent-Based Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(3), pages 1-18, January.
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    22. Patel, Amrish & Smith, Alec, 2019. "Guilt and participation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 279-295.
    23. Kaisa Kotakorpi & Tuomas Nurminen & Topi Miettinen & Satu Metsälampi, 2022. "Bearing the burden – Implications of tax reporting institutions and image concerns on evasion and incidence," Working Papers 3, Finnish Centre of Excellence in Tax Systems Research.
    24. Cartwright, Edward, 2019. "A survey of belief-based guilt aversion in trust and dictator games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 430-444.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    psychological game theory; guilt aversion; experiment; Embezzlement; dishonesty;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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