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Do Economists Lie More?

Author

Listed:
  • López-Pérez, Raúl

    (Departamento de Análisis Económico (Teoría e Historia Económica). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.)

  • Spiegelman, Eli

    (Departement des sciences économiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Canada.)

Abstract

Recent experimental evidence suggests that some people dislike telling lies, and tell the truth even at a cost. We use experiments as well to study the socio-demographic covariates of such lie aversion, and find gender and religiosity to be without predictive value. However, subjects’ major is predictive: Business and Economics (B&E) subjects lie significantly more frequently than other majors. This is true even after controlling for subjects’ beliefs about the overall rate of deception, which predict behavior very well: Although B&E subjects expect most others to lie in our decision problem, the effect of major remains. An instrumental variables analysis suggests that the effect is not simply one of selection: It seems that studying B&E has a causal impact on behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:uam:wpaper:201204
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    File URL: http://www.uam.es/departamentos/economicas/analecon/especifica/mimeo/wp20124.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Promises, Threats and Fairness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 397-420, April.
    2. 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.
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    9. Raúl López-Pérez & Eli Spiegelman, 2013. "Why do people tell the truth? Experimental evidence for pure lie aversion," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(3), pages 233-247, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Would I lie to you?
      by Inaki Villanueva in Applied economist on 2012-04-01 16:27:00
    2. Economists lie more
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-02-29 20:54:00
    3. Assorted Links
      by Xiaoyu Lu in Penny's innocent ideas on 2012-03-01 17:36:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Heinicke, Franziska & Rosenkranz, Stephanie & Weitzel, Utz, 2019. "The effect of pledges on the distribution of lying behavior: An online experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 136-151.
    3. Eli Spiegelman, 2021. "Embracing The Dark Side? Testing The Socialization Of A Maximizing Mindset," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 59(2), pages 740-761, April.
    4. Yefimov, Vladimir, 2013. "От Машин Удовольствия К Моральным Сообществам (Размышления Над Новой Книгой Джеффри Ходжсона) [From pleasure machines to moral communities (Reflections on a new book by Geoffrey Hodgson)]," MPRA Paper 49024, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Banerjee, Ritwik, 2016. "Corruption, norm violation and decay in social capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 14-27.
    6. Besancenot, Damien & Vranceanu, Radu, 2020. "Profession and deception: Experimental evidence on lying behavior among business and medical students," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 175-187.
    7. Raúl López-Pérez & Eli Spiegelman, 2013. "Why do people tell the truth? Experimental evidence for pure lie aversion," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(3), pages 233-247, September.
    8. Reuben, Ernesto & Stephenson, Matthew, 2012. "Nobody Likes a Rat: On the Willingness and Consequences of Reporting Lies," IZA Discussion Papers 6998, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Grosch, Kerstin & Rau, Holger A., 2017. "Gender differences in honesty: The role of social value orientation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 258-267.
    10. Behnk, Sascha & Barreda-Tarrazona, Iván & García-Gallego, Aurora, 2014. "The role of ex post transparency in information transmission—An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 45-64.
    11. Reuben, Ernesto & Stephenson, Matt, 2013. "Nobody likes a rat: On the willingness to report lies and the consequences thereof," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 384-391.
    12. Aleksandra Staniszewska & Monika Czerwonka & Krzysztof Kompa, 2020. "Rational Behavior of Dictators - Evidence on Gender and Religiosity," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 26(3), pages 289-301, August.
    13. Yefimov, Vladimir, 2013. "Philosophie et science économiques : leur contribution respective aux discours politiques [Economic philosophy and economic science: their respective contributions to political discourse]," MPRA Paper 54598, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Communication; honesty; lie aversion; major; norms.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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