The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Understanding the influence of risk on the decision to act dishonestly during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Understanding the influence of risk on the decision to act dishonestly during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Understanding the influence of risk on the decision to act dishonestly during the COVID-19 Pandemic
For millions of individuals, accessing resources such as vaccinations and furlough payments has been vital for managing the risks attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, obtaining these resources has often proved difficult. For example, in some countries, the demand for COVID-19 vaccinations has outstripped supply. We considered the possibility that the greater the (perceived) risk posed by the pandemic, the more likely it could be that individuals would engage in unethical behaviours to obtain these risk management resources. More specifically, we posited that individuals would be more likely to lie about their health or financial status in order to increase the probability of obtaining, respectively, vaccinations or furlough payments.
Using purpose-made scenarios based on the COVID-19 pandemic, we conducted three experimental studies that examined whether objective risk, perceived risk and other factors would influence our participants willingness to be dishonest in order to increase their chances of accessing pandemic risk management resources. Study 1 (N = 302) assessed the extent to which the objective and perceived risk of the pandemic disease influenced individuals to provide false information about their health status in order to access a vaccination. Study 2 (N = 201) assessed whether the extent to which individuals provided false information varied according to whether the information would help them access a vaccination or access to furlough payments. Study 3 (N = 270) assessed the extent to which the willingness of individuals to provide false information in order to access furlough payments was influenced by the risk (probability) that their dishonesty could be detected by the government.
Across all three studies, we found that approximately one third of all participants lied in an effort to access vaccinations or furlough payments. Study 1 showed that the perceived risk, but not the objective risk, of the disease significantly predicted dishonesty when attempting to access vaccinations. Although Study 2 found no difference in levels of dishonesty between those attempting to obtain a vaccination and those attempting to obtain furlough payments, the results showed that perceived risk significantly predicted dishonesty for vaccinations but not for furlough payments. Study 3 identified a significant negative relationship between dishonesty and the risk of being detected. Taken together, our findings have important implications for ensuring that, during a pandemic, risk management resources can be allocated in a fair and judicious way and that fraudulent behaviours can be reduced.
COVID-19, Decision-making, Dishonesty, Pandemic, Risk perception
Dawson, Ian
dff1b440-6c83-4354-92b6-04809460b01a
Hanoch, Yaniv
3cf08e80-8bda-4d3b-af1c-46c858aa9f39
Dawson, Ian
dff1b440-6c83-4354-92b6-04809460b01a
Hanoch, Yaniv
3cf08e80-8bda-4d3b-af1c-46c858aa9f39

Dawson, Ian and Hanoch, Yaniv (2022) Understanding the influence of risk on the decision to act dishonestly during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The 30th Annual Conference of the Society for Risk Analysis - Europe, Novi Sad, Serbia., University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia. 12 - 15 Jun 2022.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)

Abstract

For millions of individuals, accessing resources such as vaccinations and furlough payments has been vital for managing the risks attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, obtaining these resources has often proved difficult. For example, in some countries, the demand for COVID-19 vaccinations has outstripped supply. We considered the possibility that the greater the (perceived) risk posed by the pandemic, the more likely it could be that individuals would engage in unethical behaviours to obtain these risk management resources. More specifically, we posited that individuals would be more likely to lie about their health or financial status in order to increase the probability of obtaining, respectively, vaccinations or furlough payments.
Using purpose-made scenarios based on the COVID-19 pandemic, we conducted three experimental studies that examined whether objective risk, perceived risk and other factors would influence our participants willingness to be dishonest in order to increase their chances of accessing pandemic risk management resources. Study 1 (N = 302) assessed the extent to which the objective and perceived risk of the pandemic disease influenced individuals to provide false information about their health status in order to access a vaccination. Study 2 (N = 201) assessed whether the extent to which individuals provided false information varied according to whether the information would help them access a vaccination or access to furlough payments. Study 3 (N = 270) assessed the extent to which the willingness of individuals to provide false information in order to access furlough payments was influenced by the risk (probability) that their dishonesty could be detected by the government.
Across all three studies, we found that approximately one third of all participants lied in an effort to access vaccinations or furlough payments. Study 1 showed that the perceived risk, but not the objective risk, of the disease significantly predicted dishonesty when attempting to access vaccinations. Although Study 2 found no difference in levels of dishonesty between those attempting to obtain a vaccination and those attempting to obtain furlough payments, the results showed that perceived risk significantly predicted dishonesty for vaccinations but not for furlough payments. Study 3 identified a significant negative relationship between dishonesty and the risk of being detected. Taken together, our findings have important implications for ensuring that, during a pandemic, risk management resources can be allocated in a fair and judicious way and that fraudulent behaviours can be reduced.

This record has no associated files available for download.

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 15 March 2022
Published date: 14 June 2022
Venue - Dates: The 30th Annual Conference of the Society for Risk Analysis - Europe, Novi Sad, Serbia., University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia, 2022-06-12 - 2022-06-15
Keywords: COVID-19, Decision-making, Dishonesty, Pandemic, Risk perception

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 467308
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/467308
PURE UUID: 5b52e5c1-6bb9-4d60-b4ad-c8370561993d
ORCID for Ian Dawson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0555-9682
ORCID for Yaniv Hanoch: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9453-4588

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 Jul 2022 17:02
Last modified: 23 Jul 2022 02:25

Export record

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×