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Bad boys: how criminal identity salience affects rule violation


Cohn, Alain; Maréchal, Michel André; Noll, Thomas (2015). Bad boys: how criminal identity salience affects rule violation. Review of Economic Studies, 82(4):1289-1308.

Abstract

We conducted an experiment with 182 inmates from a maximum security prison to analyze the impact of criminal identity salience on cheating. The results show that inmates cheat more when we exogenously render their criminal identity more salient. This effect is specific to individuals who have a criminal identity, because an additional placebo experiment shows that regular citizens do not become more dishonest in response to crime-related reminders. Moreover, our experimental measure of cheating correlates with inmates' offences against in-prison regulation. Together, these findings suggest that criminal identity salience plays a crucial role in rule violating behaviour.

Abstract

We conducted an experiment with 182 inmates from a maximum security prison to analyze the impact of criminal identity salience on cheating. The results show that inmates cheat more when we exogenously render their criminal identity more salient. This effect is specific to individuals who have a criminal identity, because an additional placebo experiment shows that regular citizens do not become more dishonest in response to crime-related reminders. Moreover, our experimental measure of cheating correlates with inmates' offences against in-prison regulation. Together, these findings suggest that criminal identity salience plays a crucial role in rule violating behaviour.

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7 citations in Web of Science®
7 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Dishonesty, identity, crime, prison, experiment
Language:English
Date:June 2015
Deposited On:13 Jan 2016 07:28
Last Modified:21 Nov 2017 18:15
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0034-6527
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/restud/rdv025

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