Poverty negates the impact of social norms on cheating (co-authored with Suparee Boonmanunt and Stephan Meier)

  • Date: Nov 14, 2018
  • Time: 17:00
  • Speaker: Agne Kajackaite
  • WZB Berlin Social Science Center
  • Location: MPI
  • Room: Ground Floor
Cheating such as corruption and tax evasion are extremely prevalent in the developing world and therefore many interventions have been undertaken to reduce cheating in these countries. While there is some evidence that economic circumstance correlates with cheating, the causal effect of poverty on cheating and the effectiveness of interventions on the financially constrained remain an open question. Here we present results from a lab-in-the-field experiment with low-income rice farmers in Thailand (N=568), in which, firstly, we investigate the causal effect of poverty on cheating and secondly, test whether poverty affects the effectiveness of interventions to reduce cheating. We show that poverty itself does not affect willingness to cheat. However, while a standard social norm reminder intervention reduced cheating when the population was relatively rich (after harvest), it had no effect when the population was poorer (before harvest). Our results inform policy makers that the timing of interventions really matters.
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