Dishonesty and Charitable Behavior
University of Iowa - Henry B. Tippie College of Business - Department of Economics
California State University, East Bay - Department of Economics
April 16, 2012
We examine in the laboratory how having the opportunity to behave prosocially in the future affects the likelihood of currently engaging in antisocial behavior. Subjects first complete a task which determines their payoff. They then self-report their performance, which provides them with an opportunity for undetected cheating. In the second stage they are given the opportunity to donate some of the money earned in the first stage to a charity. Only subjects in the treatment group know about the opportunity to donate in the second stage. We find that subjects cheat more if they know they can donate some of the money to charity. Surprisingly, they also end up donating less to charity. The first result is consistent with charitable giving alleviating guilt. The second result can be explained by models of identity, time-inconsistent preferences, or self-signaling.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: Dishonesty, Charitable Donations, Identity
JEL Classification: C91, H41working papers series
Date posted: April 19, 2012
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