Context-dependent cheating: Experimental evidence from 16 countries

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Policy makers use several international indices that characterize countries according to thequality of their institutions. However, no effort has been made to study how the honesty ofcitizens varies across countries. This paper explores the honesty among citizens across 16countries with 1440 participants. We employ a very simple task where participants face atrade-off between the joy of eating a fine chocolate and the disutility of having a threatenedself-concept because of lying. Despite the incentives to cheat, we find that individuals aremostly honest. Further, international indices that are indicative of institutional honesty arecompletely uncorrelated with citizens’ honesty for our sample countries
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