Two Undesirable Consequences of Unfairness: Poor Performance and Poor Ethics in the Laboratory

By Gizem Saka.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

I conduct an experimental study to observe variations in dishonesty, and establish that people’s decision to be dishonest does not only depend on an economic cost-benefit analysis. A first round dictator game, where a Sender divides a given pie between himself and an anonymous Receiver, establishes the fair (or unfair) treatment of the Receiver. Both the Sender and the Receiver then proceed to play a trivia game where their actual performance is recorded, as well as their self-reported performance; the difference becoming a measure of dishonesty. I find that if a Receiver is treated unfairly, his performance is weaker in a trivia game . However, there is no relation between altruism and trivia ability. I also establish unfair treatment to trigger dishonesty for Receivers. Therefore we argue that dishonesty becomes a deliberate action that participants can manipulate as a tool to react to past unfair events.

Keywords: Behavioral, Experimental, Economics, Psychology, Ethics, Dictator Game

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 7, pp.19-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 857.398KB).

Dr. Gizem Saka

Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics, Middlebury College, MIddlebury, VT, USA

Dr. Gizem Saka received her PhD in Behavioral Economics from Cornell University in 2008. Her research focuses on fairness, morality and procrastination decisions. Her methods involve controlled laboratory settings. She currently teaches at Middlebury College, Vermont.


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