The impact of two different economic systems on dishonesty

Dan Ariely, Ximena Garcia-Rada, Katrin Gödker, Lars Hornuf*, Heather Mann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Using an artefactual field experiment, this paper tests the long-term implications of living in a specific economic system on individual dishonesty. By comparing cheating behaviour across individuals from the former socialist East of Germany with those of the capitalist West of Germany, we examine behavioural differences within a single country. We find long-term implications of living in a specific economic system for individual dishonesty when social interactions are possible: participants with an East German background cheated significantly more on an abstract die-rolling task than those with a West German background, but only when exposed to the enduring system of former West Germany. Moreover, our results indicate that the longer individuals had experienced socialist East Germany, the more likely they were to cheat on the behavioural task.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-195
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Economy
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019

JEL classifications

  • d63 - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
  • c93 - Field Experiments
  • p52 - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies


  • artefactual field experiment
  • cheating
  • dishonesty
  • social behaviour
  • Cheating
  • Dishonesty
  • Artefactual field experiment
  • Social behaviour
  • EAST

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