Behavioral Dishonesty in the Public Sector

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We investigate the usefulness of the dice game paradigm to public administration as a standardized way of measuring (dis)honesty among individuals, groups, and societies. Measures of dishonesty are key for the field's progress in understanding individual, organizational, and societal differences in unethical behavior and corruption. We first describe the dice game paradigm and its advantages and then discuss a range of considerations for how to implement it. Next, we highlight the potential of the dice game paradigm across two diverse studies: prospective public employees in Denmark (n = 441) and prospective public employees in 10 different countries with very different levels of corruption (n = 1,091). In the first study, we show how individual-level behavioral dishonesty is very strongly negatively correlated with public service motivation. In the second study, we find that widely used country-level indicators of corruption are strongly correlated with the average behavioral dishonesty among prospective public employees. The results illustrate the importance of the validated dice game paradigm to shed light on core questions that link micro-and macro-level dynamics of dishonesty and corruption in the public sector.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)572-590
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2019

ID: 235073692