TITLE Dishonesty and Future Public Servant’s Identity
AUTHORS Takeshi Ojima

Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Fukushima University
Policy Design Lab, Tohoku University

Manami Tsuruta

Doshisha University

Reona Hayashi

Fukushima University

So Morikawa

The University of Tokyo


The injustice caused by public-sector workers can cause great harm to society. In this study, we conducted an experiment to investigate the misconduct of public-sector workers. We divided prospective public servants into two groups: treatment and control groups. To measure their cheating behaviors in the treatment group, participants were required to carry out a priming task to strengthen their awareness as future public servants, before conducting a cheating task (20 rounds). In the control group, participants conducted a cheating task after carrying out a task unrelated to public service. We found a non-monotonic effect of the treatment on misbehavior. We believe that our treatment had an effect on mitigating dishonest behaviors as well as promoting loss-averse behaviors. We infer that the priming effect promoted the dishonest behavior in future public servants in the loss domain.

KEYWORDS Decision making, Laboratory experiments, Cheating, Public sector, Priming, Dishonesty
ISSUED May 2021

» List of Discussion Papers