Profession and deception: Experimental evidence on lying behavior among business and medical students

Profession and deception: Experimental evidence on lying behavior among business and medical students

Profession and deception: Experimental evidence on lying behavior among business and medical students

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JEL Classi.cation: C91; D83; I19

Abstract

This paper reports data from a sender-receiver experiment that compares lying behavior between two groups of students, one in business administration and the other in medicine. The two professions have di¤erent ethical standards, which might have an impact on the subjects’ deceptive behavior. We use a modi…ed version of the sender-receiver deception experiment designed by Erat and Gneezy (2012) to collect data on 393 subjects. The results show that there is little di¤erence between the two groups in the domain of white lies; however, business students resort to sel…sh lies more frequently than do medicine students. This …nding corroborates the hypothesis that the business environment tends to legitimate the use of sel…sh and dishonest communication. Furthermore, while the analysis does not con…rm di¤erences in altruism between the two groups, it does reveal di¤erences in their risk tolerance.

Keywords

Lies, deception, communication, medicine, business administration.

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