Dishonesty and mandatory mask wearing in the COVID-19 pandemic

Yossef Tobol, Erez Siniver, Gideon Yaniv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In an attempt to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, an increasing number of countries, including Israel, have made wearing masks mandatory for their citizens not just in close public places but also while waking in the streets. Failing to comply with this regulation entails a fine enforced by the police. Still, while many passersby do wear a mask that covers both their mouth and nose, others wear a mask improperly around their chin or neck or walk the streets wearing no mask at all. We speculate that the former passersby prepare themselves for a possible encounter with a police officer, in which case they could lie and claim that their mask unnoticeably slipped down from its proper position. The present paper reports the results of a field experiment designed to examine the hypothesis that, given the opportunity, passersby who wear their mask around their chin or neck are more likely to lie than those who wear no mask at all, although intuition may suggest otherwise. Incentivizing passersby's dishonesty with the Die-Under-the-Cup (DUCT) task, the experiment results support our hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109617
JournalEconomics Letters
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Die-Under-the-Cup task
  • Dishonesty
  • Lying


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