Living #90 | Many Co-Authors
Paper #90

Gino, F; Ayal, S; Ariely, D (2013) 'Self-serving Altruism? The Lure Of Unethical Actions That Benefit Others' , Journal Of Economic Behavior & Organization  

This page contains a summary table for data provenance for all studies in this paper. In addition, authors can share with readers information on why they decided to retract or not retract, plans and/or results for replication efforts, reflections on the process, or anything at all they feel is relevant. They may revise the information provided as often as desired, and each author is free to present a message of their own, though authors are encouraged to speak in one voice.

Aggregate responses

Gino involved in data collection?
Co-authors have/had raw data?
Data for reproducing results available?
Experiment 1 Don't Know (1)
Yes (1)
No (2)
No (2)
Experiment 2 Don't Know (1)
Yes (1)
No (2)
No (2)
Experiment 3 Don't Know (1)
Yes (1)
No (2)
No (2)

Individual Responses

Dan Ariely
Gino involved in data collection? Co-authors have/had raw data? Data for reproducing results available?
Experiment 1Don't KnowNeverNo
Experiment 2Don't KnowNeverNo
Experiment 3Don't KnowNeverNo

Shahar Ayal
Gino involved in data collection? Co-authors have/had raw data? Data for reproducing results available?
Experiment 1YesNeverNo
Experiment 2YesNeverNo
Experiment 3YesNeverNo

Below is a message written by author(s) of this paper. Keep in mind it may be modified at any time.
Written by: Shahar Ayal
Last update: 2023-08-28


The paper's main finding suggests that when people's dishonest acts benefit others,(i.e., altruisic cheating) they are more likely to view dishonesty as morally acceptable, allowing them to cheat more and feel less guilty about it.

Variations of altruistic cheating (e.g., white lies, collaborative cheating) were documented and reported in many scientific papers that were led by various researchers in different research labs, using different paradigms (e.g., Erat & Gneezy, 2012; Biziou-van-Pol et al., 2015; Leib et al., 2021; Levine & Scweitzer, 2014, 2015; Weisel & Shalvi, 2015).

In addition, I am currently co-supervising an ongoing PhD project at Ben-Gurion University where we investigate the emotional consequences of  altruistic versus egoistic cheating.  Our findings consistently show that people cheat more in the altruistic condition and experience less guilt and shame. Furthermore, the altruistic-cheating condition evokes a higher sense of self-pride as compared to the egoistic-cheating condition.


Finally, in another research project that will be submitted soon for publication, my colleagues and I examined when, and how altruistic cheating affects subsequent selfish unethical behavior. We use the term ‘spillover effect’ to describe a phenomenon showing that dishonest behavior is carried over (spilled) from justified altruistic dishonesty to unjustified selfish dishonesty. In this project again, we consistently replicate the basic effect of altruistic cheating (higher tendency to cheat when benefiting others).  



Erat, S., & Gneezy, U. (2012). White lies. Management Science58(4), 723-733. 

Biziou-van-Pol, L., Haenen, J., Novaro, A., Liberman, A. O., & Capraro, V. (2015). Does telling white lies signal pro-social preferences?. Judgment and Decision Making10(6), 538-548.

Leib, M., Köbis, N., Soraperra, I., Weisel, O., & Shalvi, S. (2021). Collaborative dishonesty: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin147(12), 1241.

 Levine, E. E., & Schweitzer, M. E. (2014). Are liars ethical? On the tension between benevolence and honesty. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology53, 107-117. 

Levine, E. E., & Schweitzer, M. E. (2015). Prosocial lies: When deception breeds trust. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes126, 88-106.

Weisel, O., & Shalvi, S. (2015). The collaborative roots of corruption. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences112(34), 10651-10656.