IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/pra/mprapa/60678.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Economists: cheaters with altruistic instincts

Author

Listed:
  • Muñoz-Izquierdo, Nora
  • Gil-Gómez de Liaño, Beatriz
  • Rin-Sánchez, Francisco Daniel
  • Pascual-Ezama, David

Abstract

Based on an experiment conducted with undergraduate students from three different majors (business economics, psychology and engineering), we study the relationship between honesty and altruism. We asked participants to toss a coin with a black and a white side. Participants won a chocolate if they reported the white outcome, whereas no gift was given if they reported black. It was done privately, so they could decide whether or not to cheat. Reporting the prize-losing side (that is, being honest when losing) could result in 3 effects, depending on the 3 conditions run: (i) no penalty, (ii) paying a penalty, or (iii) paying a penalty with an altruistic end (a donation to a non-profit organization). The amount of penalty was decided by each participant and the payment was also done in private. Although we cannot detect dishonesty on an individual level, we use statistical inference to determine cheating behavior. We find suggestive evidence that economics is significantly the most dishonest major when no penalty is involved. With economists in the lead, the results also indicate that all majors cheat if a penalty is requested. Surprisingly, when altruism plays a role, economists tend to have the most altruistic behavior, followed by psychologists. However, altruism does not reduce engineers' propensity to lie. No significant differences are found regarding gender.

Suggested Citation

  • Muñoz-Izquierdo, Nora & Gil-Gómez de Liaño, Beatriz & Rin-Sánchez, Francisco Daniel & Pascual-Ezama, David, 2014. "Economists: cheaters with altruistic instincts," MPRA Paper 60678, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:60678
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/60678/1/MPRA_paper_60678.pdf
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/89579/1/MPRA_paper_89579.pdf
    File Function: revised version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Laband, David N & Beil, Richard O, 1999. "Are Economists More Selfish Than Other 'Social' Scientists?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 100(1-2), pages 85-101, July.
    2. Pascual-Ezama, David & Prelec, Drazen & Dunfield, Derek, 2013. "Motivation, money, prestige and cheats," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 367-373.
    3. Yung‐An Hu & Day‐Yang Liu, 2003. "Altruism versus Egoism in Human Behavior of Mixed Motives," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 677-705, October.
    4. Urs Fischbacher & Franziska Föllmi-Heusi, 2013. "Lies In Disguise—An Experimental Study On Cheating," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 525-547, June.
    5. Robert H. Frank & Thomas Gilovich & Dennis T. Regan, 1993. "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 159-171, Spring.
    6. Sanjiv Erat & Uri Gneezy, 2012. "White Lies," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(4), pages 723-733, April.
    7. Lundquist, Tobias & Ellingsen, Tore & Gribbe, Erik & Johannesson, Magnus, 2009. "The aversion to lying," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 81-92, May.
    8. Lewis, Alan & Bardis, Alexander & Flint, Chloe & Mason, Claire & Smith, Natalya & Tickle, Charlotte & Zinser, Jennifer, 2012. "Drawing the line somewhere: An experimental study of moral compromise," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 718-725.
    9. Gino, Francesca & Ayal, Shahar & Ariely, Dan, 2013. "Self-serving altruism? The lure of unethical actions that benefit others," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 285-292.
    10. Matthias Sutter, 2009. "Deception Through Telling the Truth?! Experimental Evidence From Individuals and Teams," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 47-60, January.
    11. Edward P. Lazear & Ulrike Malmendier & Roberto A. Weber, 2012. "Sorting in Experiments with Application to Social Preferences," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 136-163, January.
    12. Fosgaard, Toke Reinholt & Hansen, Lars Gaarn & Piovesan, Marco, 2013. "Separating Will from Grace: An experiment on conformity and awareness in cheating," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 279-284.
    13. Dreber, Anna & Johannesson, Magnus, 2008. "Gender differences in deception," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 197-199, April.
    14. Joe Kerkvliet & Charles L. Sigmund, 1999. "Can We Control Cheating in the Classroom?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(4), pages 331-343, December.
    15. Zachary Grossman, 2014. "Strategic Ignorance and the Robustness of Social Preferences," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(11), pages 2659-2665, November.
    16. Uri Gneezy & Alex Imas & Kristóf Madarász, 2014. "Conscience Accounting: Emotion Dynamics and Social Behavior," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(11), pages 2645-2658, November.
    17. Gerald J. Pruckner & Rupert Sausgruber, 2013. "Honesty On The Streets: A Field Study On Newspaper Purchasing," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 661-679, June.
    18. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-477, June.
    19. Jeff Butler & Paola Giuliano & Luigi Guiso, 2016. "Trust and Cheating," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(595), pages 1703-1738, September.
    20. Uri Gneezy & Alex Imas & Kristóf Madarász, 2012. "Conscience Accounting: Emotional Dynamics and Social Behavior," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 563, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    21. Houser, Daniel & Vetter, Stefan & Winter, Joachim, 2012. "Fairness and cheating," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1645-1655.
    22. Bucciol, Alessandro & Piovesan, Marco, 2011. "Luck or cheating? A field experiment on honesty with children," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 73-78, February.
    23. Holm, Håkan J. & Kawagoe, Toshiji, 2010. "Face-to-face lying - An experimental study in Sweden and Japan," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 310-321, June.
    24. Marwell, Gerald & Ames, Ruth E., 1981. "Economists free ride, does anyone else? : Experiments on the provision of public goods, IV," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 295-310, June.
    25. López-Pérez, Raúl & Spiegelman, Eli, 2012. "Do Economists Lie More?," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2012/04, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
    26. John R. Carter & Michael D. Irons, 1991. "Are Economists Different, and If So, Why?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 171-177, Spring.
    27. Childs, Jason, 2012. "Gender differences in lying," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 147-149.
    28. Dan Ariely & Nina Mazar, 2006. "Dishonesty in everyday life and its policy implications," Working Papers 06-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, revised 2006.
    29. Anthony M. Yezer & Robert S. Goldfarb & Paul J. Poppen, 1996. "Does Studying Economics Discourage Cooperation? Watch What We Do, Not What We Say or How We Play," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 177-186, Winter.
    30. Ayelet Gneezy & Alex Imas & Amber Brown & Leif D. Nelson & Michael I. Norton, 2012. "Paying to Be Nice: Consistency and Costly Prosocial Behavior," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(1), pages 179-187, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Catrine Jacobsen & Toke Reinholt Fosgaard & David Pascual†Ezama, 2018. "Why Do We Lie? A Practical Guide To The Dishonesty Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(2), pages 357-387, April.
    2. Johannes Abeler & Daniele Nosenzo & Collin Raymond, 2019. "Preferences for Truth‐Telling," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 87(4), pages 1115-1153, July.
    3. Garbarino, Ellen & Slonim, Robert & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2019. "Loss aversion and lying behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 379-393.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cheating; altruism; penalty; donation;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:60678. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/vfmunde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.