Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Cheating and altruism by discipline

Muñoz-Izquierdo, Nora and Gil-Gómez de Liaño, Beatriz and Rin-Sánchez, Francisco Daniel and Pascual-Ezama, David (2014): Cheating and altruism by discipline.

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We examine the influence of different rewards, cash penalties and altruistic donations on cheating behavior of university students by conducting four experiments with undergraduate students of business economics, psychology and IT engineering. They were asked to toss a coin in private and we randomly assigned participants to conditions in which we manipulated the reward for a winning toss and the penalty when losing. We found that business economics students were significantly more dishonest regardless of whether the reward was a chocolate truffle or cash, and no matter if there was a penalty involved when losing. However, if the penalty was a donation to a non-profit organization, business economics students had the highest level of altruism. We additionally observed changes in the likelihood of lying when reporting the donations by manipulating the prior notice, suggesting that prior notice decreases the tendency to lie.

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