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Bad boys: how criminal identity salience affects rule violation


Cohn, Alain; Maréchal, Michel; Noll, Thomas (2015). Bad boys: how criminal identity salience affects rule violation. Working paper series / Department of Economics 132, University of Zurich.

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' offenses against in-prison regulation. Together, these findings suggest that criminal identity salience plays a crucial role in rule violating behavior.

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' offenses against in-prison regulation. Together, these findings suggest that criminal identity salience plays a crucial role in rule violating behavior.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:K00, C93, K14, K42, Z10
Uncontrolled Keywords:Dishonesty, identity, crime, prison, experiment
Language:English
Date:May 2015
Deposited On:29 Oct 2013 16:03
Last Modified:14 Aug 2017 15:48
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
Number of Pages:29
ISSN:1664-7041
Additional Information:Revised version
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp/econwp132.pdf
Related URLs:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/workingpapers.php

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