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Bad boys: how criminal identity salience affects rule violation

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  • Alain Cohn
  • Michel André Maréchal
  • Thomas Noll

Abstract

We conducted an experiment with 182 inmates from a maximum security prison to analyze the impact of criminal identity salience on cheating. The results show that inmates cheat more when we exogenously render their criminal identity more salient. This effect is specific to individuals who have a criminal identity, because an additional placebo experiment shows that regular citizens do not become more dishonest in response to crime-related reminders. Moreover, our experimental measure of cheating correlates with inmates' offenses against in-prison regulation. Together, these findings suggest that criminal identity salience plays a crucial role in rule violating behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Alain Cohn & Michel André Maréchal & Thomas Noll, 2013. "Bad boys: how criminal identity salience affects rule violation," ECON - Working Papers 132, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised May 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:132
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Meier, Stephan & Pierce, Lamar & Vaccaro, Antonino & La Cara, Barbara, 2016. "Trust and in-group favoritism in a culture of crime," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 78-92.
    2. Hett, Florian & Kröll, Markus & Mechtel, Mario, 2017. "Choosing Who You Are: The Structure and Behavioral Effects of Revealed Identification Preferences," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168223, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Alain Cohn & Michel André Maréchal, 2015. "Laboratory Measure of Cheating Predicts School Misconduct," CESifo Working Paper Series 5613, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Alain Cohn & Tobias Gesche & Michel Maréchal, 2018. "Honesty in the digital age," ECON - Working Papers 280, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. Dugar, Subhasish & Bhattacharya, Haimanti, 2017. "Fishy behavior: A field experiment on (dis)honesty in the marketplace," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 41-55.
    6. Alain Cohn & Ernst Fehr & Michel André Maréchal, 2017. "Do professional norms in the banking industry favor risk-taking?," ECON - Working Papers 244, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    7. Zhixin Dai & Fabio Galeotti & Marie Claire Villeval, 2016. "Cheating in the Lab Predicts Fraud in the Field An Experiment in Public Transportations," Working Papers halshs-01265696, HAL.
    8. Chen, Daniel L., 2016. "Priming Ideology: Why Presidential Elections Affect U.S. Judges," TSE Working Papers 16-681, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Aug 2016.
    9. repec:kap:jbuset:v:146:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2932-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Ellen Garbarino & Robert Slonim & Marie Claire Villeval, 2016. "Loss Aversion and lying behavior: Theory, estimation and empirical evidence," Working Papers 1631, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    11. 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.
    12. Cristina Bicchieri & Alessandro Sontuoso, 2017. "Game-Theoretic Accounts of Social Norms. The Role of Normative Expectations," PPE Working Papers 0011, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    13. Nese, Annamaria & O'Higgins, Niall & Sbriglia, Patrizia & Scudiero, Maurizio, 2016. "Cooperation, Punishment and Organized Crime: A Lab-in-the-Field Experiment in Southern Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 9901, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Johannes Abeler & Daniele Nosenzo & Collin Raymond, 2016. "Preferences for Truth-Telling," CESifo Working Paper Series 6087, CESifo Group Munich.
    15. Drupp, Moritz A. & Khadjavi, Menusch & Riekhof, Marie-Catherine & Voss, Rüdiger, 2017. "Professional identity and the gender gap in risk-taking: Evidence from a field experiment with scientists," Kiel Working Papers 2077, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    16. van Hoorn, Andre, 2017. "The Use of Identity Primes to Explain Behavioral Differences Between Groups: A Methodological Note," MPRA Paper 80011, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Martin Dufwenberg Jr. & Martin Dufwenberg, 2016. "Lies in Disguise - A Theoretical Analysis of Cheating," CESifo Working Paper Series 6208, CESifo Group Munich.
    18. van Hoorn, Andre, 2015. "Organizational Culture in the Financial Sector: Evidence from a Cross-Industry Analysis of Employee Personal Values and Career," MPRA Paper 67222, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Vecci, Joseph & Zelinsky, Tomas, 2016. "Social Identity and Role Models," Working Papers in Economics 672, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    20. repec:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:32-46 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Drupp, Moritz A. & Khadjavi, Menusch & Quaas, Martin F., 2016. "Truth-telling and the regulator: Evidence from a field experiment with commercial fishermen," Kiel Working Papers 2063, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    22. Alain Cohn & Michel André Maréchal, 2016. "Priming in economics," ECON - Working Papers 226, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    23. repec:eee:joepsy:v:62:y:2017:i:c:p:258-267 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dishonesty; identity; crime; prison; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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