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The (True) Legacy of Two Really Existing Economic Systems


  • Ariely, Dan
  • Garcia-Rada, Ximena
  • Hornuf, Lars
  • Mann, Heather


By running an experiment among Germans collecting their passports or ID cards in the citizen centers of Berlin, we find that individuals with an East German family background cheat significantly more on an abstract task than those with a West German family background. The longer individuals were exposed to socialism, the more likely they were to cheat on our task. While it was recently argued that markets decay morals (Falk and Szech, 2013), we provide evidence that other political and economic regimes such as socialism might have an even more detrimental effect on individuals’ behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Ariely, Dan & Garcia-Rada, Ximena & Hornuf, Lars & Mann, Heather, 2014. "The (True) Legacy of Two Really Existing Economic Systems," Discussion Papers in Economics 20974, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:20974

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Urs Fischbacher & Franziska Föllmi-Heusi, 2013. "Lies In Disguise—An Experimental Study On Cheating," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 525-547, June.
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    6. Greene, William, 2010. "Testing hypotheses about interaction terms in nonlinear models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 291-296, May.
    7. Abeler, Johannes & Becker, Anke & Falk, Armin, 2012. "Truth-Telling: A Representative Assessment," IZA Discussion Papers 6919, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    9. Selten, Reinhard & Ockenfels, Axel, 1998. "An experimental solidarity game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 517-539, March.
    10. Brosig-Koch, Jeannette & Helbach, Christoph & Ockenfels, Axel & Weimann, Joachim, 2011. "Still different after all these years: Solidarity behavior in East and West Germany," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1373-1376.
    11. Jiang, Ting, 2013. "Cheating in mind games: The subtlety of rules matters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 328-336.
    12. Demsetz, Harold, 1969. "Information and Efficiency: Another Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-22, April.
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    14. Pfarr, Christian & Schmid, Andreas & Ulrich, Volker, 2013. "You can't always get what you want - East and West Germans' attitudes and preferences regarding the welfare state," MPRA Paper 47240, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Blog mentions

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    1. The economic base of virtue
      by ? in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-07-30 18:30:00


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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:205-225 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Yan Li & Fiona Yao & David Ahlstrom, 2015. "The social dilemma of bribery in emerging economies: A dynamic model of emotion, social value, and institutional uncertainty," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 311-334, June.
    3. Gilles Grolleau & Martin G. Kocher & Angela Sutan, 2014. "Cheating and Loss Aversion: Do People Lie More to Avoid a Loss?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4965, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Johannes Abeler & Daniele Nosenzo & Collin Raymond, 2016. "Preferences for Truth-Telling," CESifo Working Paper Series 6087, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Garbarino, Ellen & Slonim, Robert & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2016. "Loss Aversion and Lying Behavior: Theory, Estimation and Empirical Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 10395, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Tim Friehe & Markus Pannenberg & Michael Wedow, 2015. "Let Bygones Be Bygones? Socialist Regimes and Personalities in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 776, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Susanne Braun & Lars Hornuf, 2015. "Leadership and persistency in spontaneuous dishonesty," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201510, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    8. Heywood, John S. & Jirjahn, Uwe & Struewing, Cornelia, 2017. "Locus of control and performance appraisal," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 205-225.
    9. Pannenberg, Markus & Friehe, Tim & Wedow, Michael, 2015. "Let Bygones be Bygones? Political Regimes and Personalities in Germany," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112841, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Uwe Jirjahn & Cornelia Struewing, 2015. "Single Motherhood in East and West Germany: What Can Explain the Differences?," Research Papers in Economics 2015-08, University of Trier, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Experimental economics; cheating; cross-culture study;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems

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