The Effect of Chosen or Given Luck on Honesty

27 Pages Posted: 17 May 2022

See all articles by Duk Gyoo Kim

Duk Gyoo Kim

Sungkyunkwan University - Department of Economics

Diogo Geraldes

University College Dublin

Franziska Heinicke

Utrecht University - School of Economics; University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

Abstract

Does being lucky (or unlucky) affect honest decision-making? We examine (1) whether luck-based income strengthens or erodes the moral value of honesty; (2) whether the perceived level of agency over an uncertain event affects the relationship between luck and honesty; and (3) whether accumulated luck affects honesty. To this end, we conducted a lab experiment in which participants self-reported a dice roll outcome, which was associated with effort-based income, after receiving luck-based income. We manipulated the participants’ perceptions regarding their influence on luck-based income. In the exogenous luck treatment, computerized coin tosses determined luck-based income, whereas in the endogenous luck treatment, the participants chose the coin’s winning side before the computerized coin toss. Our results, contradicting our hypotheses, are as follows: (1) lying behavior increases when contemporaneous luck-based income is high, (2) lying is not affected by the perceived level of agency, and (3) lying is not affected by the previous outcomes of luck-based income. Our observations challenge the view that dishonest behavior is driven by contexts that may render moral justification. Therefore, our findings indicate that differences in dishonest behavior may be largely due to individual-specific heterogeneity.

Keywords: laboratory experiment, lying, luck, Honesty, Agency

Suggested Citation

Kim, Duk Gyoo and Geraldes, Diogo and Heinicke, Franziska and Heinicke, Franziska, The Effect of Chosen or Given Luck on Honesty. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4111992 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4111992

Duk Gyoo Kim (Contact Author)

Sungkyunkwan University - Department of Economics ( email )

110-745 Seoul
Korea

Diogo Geraldes

University College Dublin ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://www.diogogeraldes.com

Franziska Heinicke

Utrecht University - School of Economics ( email )

Kriekenpitplein 21-22
Adam Smith Building
Utrecht, +31 30 253 7373 3584 EC
Netherlands

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

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