Social norms and dishonesty across societies

Diego Aycinena, Lucas Rentschler, Benjamin Beranek, Jonathan F. Schulz

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículo de Investigaciónrevisión exhaustiva

9 Citas (Scopus)

Resumen

Social norms have long been recognized as an important factor in curtailing antisocial behavior, and stricter prosocial norms are commonly associated with increased prosocial behavior. In this study, we provide evidence that very strict prosocial norms can have a perverse negative relationship with prosocial behavior. In laboratory experiments conducted in 10 countries across 5 continents, we measured the level of honest behavior and elicited injunctive norms of honesty. We find that individuals who hold very strict norms (i.e., those who perceive a small lie to be as socially unacceptable as a large lie) are more likely to lie to the maximal extent possible. This finding is consistent with a simple behavioral rationale. If the perceived norm does not differentiate between the severity of a lie, lying to the full extent is optimal for a norm violator since it maximizes the financial gain, while the perceived costs of the norm violation are unchanged. We show that the relation between very strict prosocial norms and high levels of rule violations generalizes to civic norms related to common moral dilemmas, such as tax evasion, cheating on government benefits, and fare dodging on public transportation. Those with very strict attitudes toward civic norms are more likely to lie to the maximal extent possible. A similar relation holds across countries. Countries with a larger fraction of people with very strict attitudes toward civic norms have a higher society-level prevalence of rule violations.

Idioma originalInglés estadounidense
Número de artículoe2120138119
PublicaciónProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volumen119
N.º31
DOI
EstadoPublicada - ago. 2 2022

Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus

  • General
  • Economía y econometría
  • Psicología social

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