Take home points:
Simple Model of Rational Crime (dishonesty based on rational analysis of cost/benefit of cheating, benefit of the crime, probability of getting caught, expected punishment) is completely bogus. Study was set up (solving math problems for $$), subjects did not cheat more when the payout (for cheating) was higher. It was actually less. Probability of getting caught? Study showed roughly the same amount of cheating as when there was NO chance of getting caught.
The more distanced from actual money (tokens vs. actual $), people were more likely to cheat. People are more likely to steal $1 of pens (office supplies) than an actual $1 bill. Stealing $1 and then using it to buy a pen is somehow worse than stealing a $1 pen. Getting people to recite an honor code (thou shalt not steal) makes them less likely to steal. So does signing *before* they fill out a form (like a tax form). Filling out after does not have this effect.
The more distanced you are from the act, the more likely you are to cheat. Golfers cheating by moving the ball are less likely to consider it cheating if they move the ball with their club or feet than by their hands. This also ties into cheating by stealing $$$ vs. stealing supplies.
Resisting temptation somehow wears down our moral resistance, and after enough resistance we are apt to give up (run out of steam) and give in.
Wearing (known) fake products (sunglasses, bags) makes us more likely to cheat on various tests.
Cheating across cultures and nationalities, pretty much the same.
Being supervised decreases dishonesty. Even a picture of somebody watching you decreased the likelihood that somebody would cheat on putting the correct change in a box to pay for a snack.
Essay mills - people paying for essay papers? As of 2010 - a survey of the quality of these papers shows them to be so poor it's immediately apparent to professors that they are complete junk.
People are more likely to cheat in an altruistic situation where they are helping somebody else.
Forces that shape dishonesty:
- Ability to rationalize the situation
- Conflicts of interest
- Being creative
- One immoral act spawning another
- Being tired
- Altruistic benefit
- Watching others cheating
- Amount of money to gain
- Probability of being caught
Forces that decrease dishonesty
- Pledging honesty
- Signing something
- Reminding of the moral code
- Being supervised
All in all, a good read, good studies back up the conclusions. The book starts out strong, but by the later chapters seems to run out of steam and becomes more anecdotal.