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Do Economists Lie More?

  • 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.)

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.

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Paper provided by Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History) in its series Working Papers in Economic Theory with number 2012/04.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uam:wpaper:201204
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  1. Raúl López-Pérez & Eli Spiegelman, 2013. "Why do people tell the truth? Experimental evidence for pure lie aversion," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 233-247, September.
  2. Holm, Håkan J. & Kawagoe, Toshiji, 2008. "Face-to-Face Lying – an experimental study in Sweden and Japan," Working Papers 2008:5, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  3. Tobias Lundquist & Tore Ellingsen & Erik Gribbe & Magnus Johannesson, 2009. "The Aversion to Lying," Post-Print hal-00674103, HAL.
  4. Dreber, Anna & Johannesson, Magnus, 2008. "Gender differences in deception," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 197-199, April.
  5. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Promises, Threats and Fairness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 397-420, 04.
  6. 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.
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