Effect of cues of observability on dishonest behaviour: an experimental research

Enyan, Olivia (2023) Effect of cues of observability on dishonest behaviour: an experimental research. MRes thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Holding private information often gives individuals an incentive to engage in dishonest acts such as cheating or misreporting that information during economic decision making. There has been a large and growing body of experimental research which has analysed dishonest behaviour over the past decade. Though the experimental literature on dishonest behaviour continues to grow but there are pending questions on what trigger and discourage cheating.

A review of the literature on dishonest behaviour shows four most widely used experimental paradigms for the dishonesty task: die-roll tasks, coin-flip tasks, sender–receiver games and matrix tasks. The different experimental paradigms especially the die-roll tasks come with different conclusions mostly with monetary incentives. The conclusions drawn from these experimental research as to why individuals engage in dishonest acts when monetary incentives are involved to some extents are unclear and even contradictory. For instance, while some experimental paradigms suggest that monetary incentives lead to more dishonest acts, others suggest otherwise. So far most of these dishonesty tasks take great pains to ensure that the actual outcomes of subjects’ task are completely unobserved by the experimenter or any other subject but only the reported outcomes are observed by the experimenter. It is important for

the methodology that subjects' actual outcomes are not observed but what about the relevance of observation of the reported outcomes of their task under image of real human watching eyes.

One determinant of dishonest behaviour could be whether cues of observability of subjects reported outcomes have the tendency to influence subjects cheating decision making. We therefore investigate the effect of cues of observability on dishonest behaviour using die rolling task. Subjects make cheating decisions either alone or under image of real human watching eyes. We found that subjects who are eye observed were less likely to cheat. Thus, the mere introduction of the image of the Asante King’s eyes reduces dishonest behaviour among Ghanaian respondents in Kumasi.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (MRes)
Supervisors: Starmer, Chris
Barr, Abigail
Keywords: Honesty; Decision making; Motivation (Psychology); Social influence
Subjects: H Social sciences > HM Sociology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Economics
Item ID: 72098
Depositing User: ENYAN, OLIVIA
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2023 04:40
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2023 04:30
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/72098

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