Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Context dependent cheating: Experimental evidence from 16 countries

Pascual-Ezama, David and Fosgaard, Toke R. and Cardenas, Juan Camilo and Kujal, Praveen and Veszteg, Robert and Gil-Gómez de Liaño, Beatriz and Gunia, Brian and Weichselbaumer, Doris and Hilken, Katharina and Antinyan, Armenak and Delnoij, Joyce and Proestakis, Antonios and Tira, Michael D. and Pratomo, Yulius and Jaber-López, Tarek and Brañas-Garza, Pablo (2014): Context dependent cheating: Experimental evidence from 16 countries.

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Abstract

Economic loss to society due to dishonesty can be quite large. Policy makers use several international indices that characterize countries according to the quality of their institutions. However, no effort has been made to study how the honesty of citizens varies across sixteen countries. This paper explores the honesty among citizens across sixteen countries and not of the national institutions. We employ a very simple task where participants face a trade-off between the joy of eating a fine chocolate and the disutility of having a threatened self-concept because of lying. The experiment was conducted in 16 countries with 1440 participants. Despite the clear incentives to cheat, we find that individuals are mostly honest. Further, international indices that are indicative of institutional honesty are completely uncorrelated with citizens' honesty for our sample countries.

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