The spillover effects of monitoring institution on unethical behavior across contexts

Professor Marie Claire Villeval, University of Lyon / National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)

We report on a field experiment conducted in public transportation and on the streets of a large city to study whether there are cross-context spillover effects of monitoring institutions on unethical behavior. In the experiment, we first observe dishonesty in a natural setting (fare evasion in public transport), and then we expose subjects to an opportunity for unethical behavior in a different setting (accepting undeserved money on the street). This enables us to test (i) whether sanctioning fraud has a deterrence effect on fare-dodgers when they are exposed to a new opportunity to misbehave, and (ii) whether being inspected has any effect on the behavior of honest passengers in the new context. Our results show that monitoring increases the unethical behavior of both fraudsters and non-fraudsters in the second unrelated context. The crowding-out effect of monitoring across contexts increases in the number of inspectors. Our experiment rules out traditional explanations related to negative reciprocity which are typically proposed in single-context settings, and shows the importance of considering the spillover effects of institutions across contexts the rough the effect of institutions on individuals' moral preferences.

About the speaker

Marie Claire Villeval is Research Professor in economics at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and she is affiliated with the GATE (Groupe d’Analyse et de Théorie Economique) research institute, at the University of Lyon, France. She is director of GATE-LAB.  Her main research interests focus on experimental economics, behavioral economics, public economics and personnel economics. She has conducted laboratory and field experiments on cheating and tax evasion, incentives and motivation, teamwork and leadership, punishment and cooperation, status seeking and self-image, and the role of emotions in decision-making.

She is a member of the Academia Europaea and Fellow of the European Association of Labour Economists (EALE). In 2017 she has been awarded the Silver Medal of CNRS. She was the President of the French Economic Association (AFSE), the Founding President of the French Association of Experimental Economics (ASFEE), and the Vice-President for Europe of the Economic Science Association (ESA).

She is co-editor in chief of Experimental Economics and a member of the editorial boards of  the Journal of the Economic Science Association, the Journal of Neurosciences, Psychology and Economics, the Review of Behavioral Economics. She was formerly co-editor of the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization and she was on the boards of Management Science and the  Journal of Public Economic Theory.

Venue: 0.16-0.17

Date: 28 March 2018

Time: 16:00 - 17:00  CET