First You Get the Money, Then You Get the Power: The Effect of Cheating on Altruism
6.1. Main Results
Subjects consider themselves to be honest, indicating they might not lie or, if they did lie, might lie very little. Contrary to their beliefs about themselves, subjects are reasonably suspicious of their fellows and believe that they might lie somewhere between a little and moderately.
Subjects in CHEAT report significantly higher performance in CHEAT in comparison to actual performance in CONTROL.
Subjects admit to dishonest behavior, and the level of reported cheating is positively correlated with actual cheating.
We find some evidence that giving is influenced by IQ scores in CONTROL. Each additional correctly answered question decreases dictator game giving by about 4 percent, but this effect is not significant at conventional levels (tobit: coef = −4.23, robust standard errors; ). Subjects in CHEAT with higher IQ scores are significantly less altruistic; each additional question a dictator claims to have answered correctly decreases dictator game giving by 6 percent (tobit: coef = −6.08, robust standard errors; ). However, this result is somewhat misleading and, as we will show shortly, it is being driven by a particular type of dictator.
Subjects in CHEAT who self-report performance lower than the top quartile, are significantly more altruistic than counterparts in CONTROL.
Subjects self-reporting their performance in the top quartile, are significantly less altruistic than other dictators in CHEAT.
This shows that the high-scoring dictators in CHEAT, admit not only to dishonest behavior (like other subjects in CHEAT) but to (correctly) believing themselves to be more dishonest than their peers. In sum, the subjects who answer more than 10 questions correctly, are generally in the CHEAT treatment. These subjects admit to a higher degree of lying, think they lied more than other subjects, and are more likely to self-report a different number of correct answers in the post-experiment questionnaire than they reported at the end of Stage 1.
In M3, we estimate the percentage the dictator sends conditional on HIGH SCORE, and find that the dummy variable has a statistically and substantively strong effect. In M4 and M5, we estimate dictators’ giving using the treatment dummy and either SCORE or HIGH SCORE, and compare both of these models to M1. When we include CHEAT, SCORE, and HIGH SCORE as independent variables, SCORE is no longer significant, while CHEAT and HIGH SCORE are. This suggests that it is not subjects’ test results driving dictator allocations but rather the subjects who perform (or report to perform) above the top quartile. These subjects behave differently to other subjects, and send less to their matched partner, when compared to other dictators. This explains the lack of the treatment effect: in CHEAT, several subjects become more generous after they have been assigned their role; other subjects in CHEAT (particularly those who cheat a lot) become less generous. The existence of these two types, mitigates the treatment effect.
6.2. Population Differences
There are no statistically significant differences in the age and gender of participants. The average ages of subjects participating in the sessions run in Calgary and Abu Dhabi are 20.72 and 20.36. This difference is not statistically significantly different (t-test: ). Reported gender follows a similar pattern: 59 percent of subjects participating in the sessions run in Calgary report to be male, and 55 percent of subjects participating in sessions run in Abu Dhabi report to be male. Again, this difference is not statistically different (test of proportions: ).
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