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Selection into Leadership and Dishonest Behavior of Leaders: A Gender Experiment

Kerstin Grosch, Stephan Müller, Holger A. Rau and Lilia Zhurakhovska
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Kerstin Grosch: Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria
Stephan Müller: University of Goettingen, Germany
Holger A. Rau: University of Goettingen, Germany
Lilia Zhurakhovska: University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

No 19, IHS Working Paper Series from Institute for Advanced Studies

Abstract: Leaders often have to weigh ethical against monetary consequences. Such situations may evoke psychological costs from being dishonest and dismissing higher monetary benefits for others. In a within-subjects experiment, we analyze such a dilemma. We first measure individual dishonest behavior when subjects report the outcome of a die roll, which determines their payoffs. Subsequently, they act as leaders and report payoffs for a group including themselves. In our main treatment, subjects can apply for leadership, whereas in the control treatment, we assign leadership randomly. Results reveal that women behave more dishonestly as leaders while men behave similarly in both the individual and the group decision. For female leaders, we find that sorting into leadership is not related to individual honesty preferences. In the control we find that female leaders do not increase dishonesty. A follow-up study reveals that female leaders become more dishonest after assuming leadership, as they align dishonest behavior with their belief on group members’ honesty preferences.

Keywords: leadership; decision for others; lab experiment; gender differences; dishonesty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 H26 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 34 pages
Date: 2020-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-exp and nep-gen
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