Fairness and Cheating

29 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2011

See all articles by Daniel Houser

Daniel Houser

George Mason University - Department of Economics; Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Stefan Vetter

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Joachim K. Winter

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA); Deutsche Bundesbank - Research Department

Date Written: February 1, 2011

Abstract

We present evidence from a laboratory experiment showing that individuals who believe they were treated unfairly in an interaction with another person are more likely to cheat in a subsequent unrelated game. Specifically, subjects first participated in a dictator game. They then flipped a coin in private and reported the outcome. Subjects could increase their total payoff by cheating, i.e., lying about the outcome of the coin toss. We found that subjects were more likely to cheat in reporting the outcome of the coin flip when: 1) they received either nothing or a very small transfer from the dictator; and 2) they claimed to have been treated unfairly.

Keywords: cheating, fairness, experimental design

JEL Classification: C91, D03, D63

Suggested Citation

Houser, Daniel and Vetter, Stefan and Winter, Joachim K., Fairness and Cheating (February 1, 2011). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 11-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1753315 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1753315

Daniel Houser (Contact Author)

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Stefan Vetter

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) ( email )

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Germany

Joachim K. Winter

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) ( email )

Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
Munich, DE Bavaria 80539
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

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Germany

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Germany

Deutsche Bundesbank - Research Department ( email )

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Germany

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