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Perceptions, Intentions, and Cheating

Li Hao () and Daniel Houser ()
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Li Hao: Department of Economics, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

No 1039, Working Papers from George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science

Abstract: We report data from a laboratory experiment demonstrating that cheating is significantly deterred when a possible intent to cheat must be revealed before, rather than after, a potentially dishonest act. Further, data from independent evaluators suggests a reason: the same action is more likely to be perceived as dishonest when cheating could have been planned, as compared to cases when it seems simply impulsive. Overall, we find the vast majority of participants prefer to appear honest, but only a minority prefers actually to be honest. Finally, we conduct a type-classification analysis that implies that after establishing an honest appearance people cheat to the greatest extent possible. It follows that the “incomplete cheating†behavior frequently reported in the literature may be due more to a preference for maintaining an honest appearance than an intrinsic aversion to cheating. Length: 43

Keywords: cheating; honest appearance; partial cheating; experimental design (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D03 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-evo and nep-exp
Date: 2013-02, Revised 2013-02
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