Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/92391
Authors: 
Cohn, Alain
Maréchal, Michel André
Noll, Thomas
Year of Publication: 
2013
Series/Report no.: 
Working Paper Series, University of Zurich, Department of Economics 132
Abstract: 
We conducted an experiment with 182 inmates from a maximum-security prison to analyze the impact of criminal identity on dishonest behavior. We randomly primed half of the prisoners to increase the mental saliency of their criminal identity, while treating the others as the control group. The results demonstrate that prisoners become more dishonest when we render their criminal identity more salient in their minds. An additional placebo experiment with regular citizens shows that the effect is specific to individuals with a criminal identity. Moreover, our experimental measure of dishonesty correlates with inmates' offenses against in-prison regulation. Altogether, these findings suggest that criminal identity plays a crucial role in rule violating behavior.
Subjects: 
Dishonesty
Identity
Crime
Prison
Experiment
JEL: 
K00
C93
K14
K42
Z10
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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