The bad consequences of teamwork


People are rather dishonest when working on collaborative tasks. We experimentally study whether this is driven by the collaborative situation or by mere exposure to dishonest norms. In the collaborative treatment, two participants in a pair receive a payoff (equal to the reported outcome) only if both report the same die-roll outcome. In the norm exposure treatment, participants receive the same information regarding their partner’s action as in the collaborative treatment, but receive payoffs based only on their own reports. We find that average dishonesty is similarly high with and without collaboration, but the frequency of dyads in which both players are honest is lower in collaboration than in the norm exposure setting.

Economics Letters