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Cheating, inequality aversion, and appealing to social norms

Clara Amato, Francesca Gino, Natalia Montinari and Pierluigi Sacco

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2020, vol. 179, issue C, 767-776

Abstract: We conduct a field experiment involving 143, 9-years old children in their classrooms. Children are requested to flip a coin in private and receive a big or a small prize depending on the outcome they report. Comparing the actual and theoretical distribution of reported wins, we find evidence of cheating at the aggregate level. By using behavioral data gathered on previous and subsequent meetings with the same children, we are able to explore the relationship between cheating behavior, other regarding preferences, and the tendency to appeal to social norms in judging unfair behaviors. Children who are classified as concerned about inequality are less likely to cheat. Similarly, children who are more likely to appeal to social norms in judging unfair behaviors are also less likely to cheat. We find no significant relationship between inequality concern and social norms sensitivity, suggesting that these mechanisms work differently interacting with children moral behavior.

Keywords: Cheating; Inequality aversion; Social norm; Children; Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D03 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.11.016

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Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

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