van Prooijen, Jan-Willem, and Paul A. M. van Lange, eds. Cheating, Corruption, and Concealment: The Roots of Dishonesty. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. xiv + 315 pages. Hardcover, $126.95.
This volume is a state-of-the-art presentation of one of the most rapidly growing currents of research on the subject of dishonesty. Cheating, Corruption, and Concealment: The Roots of Dishonesty is the result of a project conducted by a multinational team of scholars from Italy, Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The researchers' diverse backgrounds allow them to develop a holistic framework to understand the phenomenon of dishonesty exploring its psychological, socioeconomic, religious, and cultural aspects. Much of the credit for the organization of these cutting-edge essays goes to its editors from the VU University Amsterdam: Jan-Willem van Prooijen, Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, and Paul van Lange, Professor of Psychology.
Dishonesty takes many forms. For analytical purposes, the scholars distinguish between three dominant strategies that people commonly use: cheating (bending or violating rules individually to receive unfair advantages for themselves or others), corruption (bending or violating rules in cooperation with other people to receive unfair advantages for themselves or others), and concealment (hiding or misrepresenting information). This volume provides new insights into distinctions and connections between these strategies. In fact, in their introductory essay, van Prooijen and van Lange indicate that "cheating, corruption, and concealment should be regarded as interrelated elements of dishonesty, and frequently people combine multiple strategies to reach their goals" (p. 3). To illustrate this point, they give an example of tax evasion, which usually involves both cheating and concealment.
The volume moves beyond a 'mainstream' economic approach. As van Prooijen and van Lange state, "dishonesty is more complex than the assertion of 'Homo Economicus' that people's behaviour is motivated solely by the pursuit of material self-interest and a radical calculation of costs and benefits in social exchanges" (p. 2). Instead, the researchers approach dishonest behaviour from a theoretical perspective that focuses on its psychological dynamics within given moral and ethical constraints. This focus allows for the identification of specific...