Menusch Khadjavi (Kiel Institute and Free University Amsterdam)
Academic honesty is crucial for the advancement of and trust in science. Meanwhile, there are concerns around a so-called replication crisis and survey evidence reveals non-negligible questionable research practices. Motivated by identity economics theory, we provide evidence on scientists’ truth-telling by means of two online experiments. We employ an established coin-tossing task with more than 1,300 scientists, in which scientists face a trade-off between monetary incentives for lying and honest reporting. Specifically, we compare reporting behavior between two treatments, either making the private or professional identity salient. In Experiment I with 437 mostly European and North American marine scientists, we find that fewer scientists over-report winning tail tosses in the professional identity treatment. In Experiment II with 864 scientists from diverse academic disciplines and world regions, we find heterogeneous effects across groups and do not replicate the main result from Experiment I invariably. While we replicate the effect for North American scientists, we find the opposite for Southern European and East Asian scientists. Our data significantly correlates with existing country-specific (dis)honesty data. Our findings highlights the importance of professional and societal honesty norms to curb misconduct.
Menusch Khadjavi (Kiel Institute and Free University Amsterdam) – Moritz Drupp (Universität Hamburg) – Rudi Voss (CAU Kiel)
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