IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hal/journl/halshs-02138617.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Cheat or perish? A theory of scientific customs

Author

Listed:
  • Benoît Le Maux

    () (CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Sarah Necker

    (Walter-Eucken Institute)

  • Yvon Rocaboy

    () (CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

We develop a theory of the evolution of scientific misbehavior. Our empirical analysis of a survey of scientific misbehavior in economics suggests that researchers’ disutility from cheating varies with the expected fraction of colleagues who cheat. This observation is central to our theory. We develop a one-principal multi-agent framework in which a research institution aims to reward scientific productivity at minimum cost. As the social norm is determined endogenously, performance-related pay may not only increase cheating in the short run but can also make cheat-ing increasingly attractive in the long run. The optimal contract thus depends on the dynamics of scientific norms. The premium on scientific productivity should be higher when the transmission of scientific norms across generations is lower (low marginal peer pressure) or the principal cares little about the future (has a high discount rate). Under certain conditions, a greater probability of detection also increases the optimal productivity premium.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Benoît Le Maux & Sarah Necker & Yvon Rocaboy, 2019. "Cheat or perish? A theory of scientific customs," Post-Print halshs-02138617, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-02138617
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2019.05.001
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02138617
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jörgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35.
    2. Dimant, Eugen, 2015. "On Peer Effects: Behavioral Contagion of (Un)Ethical Behavior and the Role of Social Identity," MPRA Paper 68732, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2016. "Bonus Culture: Competitive Pay, Screening, and Multitasking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(2), pages 305-370.
    4. William T. Dickens & Lorenz Goette & Erica L. Groshen & Steinar Holden & Julian Messina & Mark E. Schweitzer & Jarkko Turunen & Melanie E. Ward, 2007. "How Wages Change: Micro Evidence from the International Wage Flexibility Project," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 195-214, Spring.
    5. 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.
    6. Lacetera, Nicola & Zirulia, Lorenzo, 2012. "Individual preferences, organization, and competition in a model of R&D incentive provision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 550-570.
    7. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-319, June.
    8. Sebastian Kube & Michel André Maréchal & Clemens Puppe, 2013. "Do Wage Cuts Damage Work Morale? Evidence From A Natural Field Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 853-870, August.
    9. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
    10. Gary Charness & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2014. "The Dark Side of Competition for Status," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(1), pages 38-55, January.
    11. Conrads, Julian & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Rilke, Rainer Michael & Schielke, Anne & Walkowitz, Gari, 2014. "Honesty in tournaments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(1), pages 90-93.
    12. Lars P. Feld & Sarah Necker & Bruno S. Frey, 2015. "Happiness of economists," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(10), pages 990-1007, February.
    13. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    14. Andergassen, Rainer, 2008. "High-powered incentives and fraudulent behavior: Stock-based versus stock option-based compensation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 122-125, November.
    15. Layard, R. & Mayraz, G. & Nickell, S., 2008. "The marginal utility of income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1846-1857, August.
    16. Abel Brodeur & Mathias Lé & Marc Sangnier & Yanos Zylberberg, 2016. "Star Wars: The Empirics Strike Back," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 1-32, January.
    17. Dirk Sliwka, 2007. "Trust as a Signal of a Social Norm and the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 999-1012, June.
    18. Scott M. Gilpatric, 2011. "Cheating In Contests," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(4), pages 1042-1053, October.
    19. Schwieren, Christiane & Weichselbaumer, Doris, 2010. "Does competition enhance performance or cheating? A laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 241-253, June.
    20. List, John A, et al, 2001. "Academic Economists Behaving Badly? A Survey on Three Areas of Unethical Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(1), pages 162-170, January.
    21. Stephan, Paula E., 2010. "The Economics of Science," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 217-273, Elsevier.
    22. Corneo, Giacomo, 1995. "Social custom, management opposition, and trade union membership," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 275-292, February.
    23. Gary Hoover, 2006. "A Game-Theoretic Model of Plagiarism," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 34(4), pages 449-454, December.
    24. Nicola Lacetera & Lorenzo Zirulia, 2011. "The Economics of Scientific Misconduct," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(3), pages 568-603.
    25. Daron Acemoglu & Matthew O. Jackson, 2017. "Social Norms and the Enforcement of Laws," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 245-295.
    26. Necker, Sarah, 2014. "Scientific misbehavior in economics," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(10), pages 1747-1759.
    27. Cartwright, Edward & Menezes, Matheus L.C., 2014. "Cheating to win: Dishonesty and the intensity of competition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 55-58.
    28. Patricia Funk, 2005. "Governmental Action, Social Norms, and Criminal Behavior," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(3), pages 522-535, September.
    29. Kiri, Bralind & Lacetera, Nicola & Zirulia, Lorenzo, 2018. "Above a swamp: A theory of high-quality scientific production," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(5), pages 827-839.
    30. Brambor, Thomas & Clark, William Roberts & Golder, Matt, 2006. "Understanding Interaction Models: Improving Empirical Analyses," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 63-82, January.
    31. Abeler, Johannes & Becker, Anke & Falk, Armin, 2014. "Representative evidence on lying costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 96-104.
    32. George A. Akerlof, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of which Unemployment may be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-775.
    33. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
    34. Rosenbaum, Stephen Mark & Billinger, Stephan & Stieglitz, Nils, 2014. "Let’s be honest: A review of experimental evidence of honesty and truth-telling," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 181-196.
    35. Paul Fischer & Steven Huddart, 2008. "Optimal Contracting with Endogenous Social Norms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1459-1475, September.
    36. Michael Graber & Andrey Launov & Klaus Wälde, 2008. "Publish or Perish? The Increasing Importance of Publications for Prospective Economics Professors in Austria, Germany and Switzerland," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9(4), pages 457-472, November.
    37. Gneezy, Uri & Rockenbach, Bettina & Serra-Garcia, Marta, 2013. "Measuring lying aversion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 293-300.
    38. Dimant, Eugen, 2019. "Contagion of pro- and anti-social behavior among peers and the role of social proximity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 66-88.
    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. Doerr, Annabelle & Necker, Sarah, 2018. "Toward an understanding of collaborative tax evasion: A natural field experiment with businesses," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 18/13, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Contract theory; Economics of science; Scientific misbehavior; Social norms;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

    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:hal:journl:halshs-02138617. 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: (CCSD). General contact details of provider: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    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.