Why (field) experiments on unethical behavior are important: Comparing stated and revealed behavior

Alem, Yonas; Eggert, Håkan; Kocher, Martin G.ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6792-1192 and Ruhinduka, Remidius D. (2016) Why (field) experiments on unethical behavior are important: Comparing stated and revealed behavior. University of Gothenburg, School of Business, Economics and Law, Working papers in Economics 664, 31 p.

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Understanding unethical behavior is essential to many phenomena in the real world. We carry out a field experiment in a unique setting that varies the levels of reciprocity and guilt in an ethical decision. A survey more than one year before the field experiment allows us to compare at the individual level stated unethical behavior with revealed behavior in the same situation in the field. Our results indicate a strong discrepancy between stated and revealed behavior, regardless of the specific treatment in the field experiment. This suggests that, given a natural setting, people may actually behave inconsistently with the way in which they otherwise “brand” themselves. Our findings raise caution about the interpretation of stated behavioral measures commonly used in research on unethical behavior. However, we show that inducing reciprocity and guilt leads to a decrease in unethical behavior.

Item Type: Discussion/ Working Paper (Unspecified)
Additional Information (public): ISSN 1403-2473 (print) ISSN 1403-2465 (online)
Keywords: Honesty; kindness; guilt; field experiment; behavioral economics;
Classification Codes (e.g. JEL): C93, D01, D03
Research Units: Former Research Units (until 2020) > Insight Austria
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2017 13:48
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2018 12:45
URI: https://irihs.ihs.ac.at/id/eprint/4445

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