Further from the truth: The impact of moving from in-person to online settings on dishonest behavior
David Dickinson and
David McEvoy ()
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), 2021, vol. 90, issue C
Recent policies require some interactions previously conducted in close social proximity (e.g., school, workplace) to take place remotely, which motivates our investigation of how in-person versus online environments impact honesty. We modify a well-known coin-flip task and examine the influence of going from the physical laboratory environment, to online with identifiable participants (using the same lab-based subject pool). We also compare behavior in these treatments to that from an online subject pool that is fully anonymous. For this we use Amazon Mechanical Turk (mTurk). Surprisingly, while a simple move from in-lab to online (using the same subject pool) appears to increase “fake effort” – those who likely never flip the coin - it does not predict more dishonest behavior when there is a monetary incentive to cheat. We find the more socially distant and anonymous participants (mTurk workers) are most likely to be deemed cheaters in our analysis (i.e., more likely to report coin flip outcomes consistent with cheating for monetary gain). Implications of our findings indicate the greatest risk of potentially costly dishonest behavior results when anonymity, not just social distance, is high.
Keywords: Social distance; cheating; coin flip; anonymity; behavioral economics; experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D90 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:soceco:v:90:y:2021:i:c:s2214804320306923
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