Decision makers use norms, not cost-benefit analysis, when choosing to conceal or reveal unfair rewards


We introduce the Conceal or Reveal Dilemma, in which individuals receive unfair benefits, and must decide whether to conceal or to reveal this unfair advantage. This dilemma has two important characteristics; it does not lend itself easily to cost-benefit analysis, neither to the application of any strong universal norm. As a consequence, it is ideally suited to the study of interindividual and intercultural variations in moral-economic norms. In this paper we focus on interindividual variations, and we report four studies showing that individuals cannot be swayed by financial incentives to conceal or to reveal, and follow instead fixed, idiosyncratic strategies. We discuss how this result can be extended to individual and cultural variations in the tendency to display or to hide unfair rewards.

Plos One
JF Bonnefon
JF Bonnefon
Behavioral Scientist