Economics at your fingertips  

Selection effects on dishonest behavior

Petr Houdek, Štěpán Bahník, Marek Hudik and Marek Vranka

Judgment and Decision Making, 2021, vol. 16, issue 2, 238-266

Abstract: In many situations people behave ethically, while elsewhere dishonesty reigns. Studies of the determinants of unethical behavior often use random assignment of participants in various conditions to identify contextual or psychological factors influencing dishonesty. However, in many real-world contexts, people deliberately choose or avoid specific environments. In three experiments (total N = 2,124) enabling self-selection of participants in two similar tasks, one of which allowed for cheating, we found that participants who chose the task where they could lie for financial gain reported a higher number of correct predictions than those who were assigned it at random. Introduction of financial costs for entering the cheating-allowing task led to a decrease in interest in the task; however, it also led to more intense cheating. An intervention aimed to discourage participants from choosing the cheating-enabling environment based on social norm information did not have the expected effect; on the contrary, it backfired. In summary, the results suggest that people low in moral character are likely to eventually dominate cheating-enabling environments, where they then cheat extensively. Interventions trying to limit the preference of this environment may not have the expected effect as they could lead to the selection of the worst fraudsters.

Date: 2021
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) ... type/journal_article link to article abstract page (text/html)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

More articles in Judgment and Decision Making from Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Kirk Stebbing ().

Page updated 2023-07-09
Handle: RePEc:cup:judgdm:v:16:y:2021:i:2:p:238-266_1