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There are Free Lunches: Behavioral Clues to Live Happy in the Economic World is a blog that intends to present updated and relevant information about the "hidden" and only recently uncovered dimensions of the economic science: the behavioral factors. With this blog we intend to promote in Europe and in the rest of the World, the top research articles and perspectives on behavioral economics, decision making, consumer behavior, and general behavioral science. We aim to be followed by journalists, academics, managers, civil servants, and everyone who wishes to improve their daily interaction with the economic world and consequently, their lives' happiness.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

CO2 #2 The "Truth" About Why We Lie, Cheat and Steal (via NPR)

Chances are, you're a liar. Maybe not a big liar — but a liar nonetheless. That's the finding of Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University. He's run experiments with some 30,000 people and found that very few people lie a lot, but almost everyone lies a little.
Ariely describes these experiments and the results in a new book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie To Everyone — Especially Ourselves. He talks with NPR's Robert Siegel about how society's troubles aren't always caused by the really bad apples; they're caused by the scores of slightly rotting apples who are cheating just a little bit.
Interview Highlights
On the traditional, cost/benefit theory of dishonesty
"The standard view is a cost/benefit view. It says that every time we see something, we ask ourselves: What do I stand to gain from this and what do I stand to lose? Imagine it's a gas station: Going by a gas station, you ask yourself: How much money is in this gas station? If I steal it, what's the chance that somebody will catch me and how much time will I have in prison? And you basically look at the cost and benefit, and if it's a good deal, you go for it.
"On why the cost/benefit theory is flawed"
It's inaccurate, first of all. When we do experiments, when we try to tempt people to cheat, we don't find that these three elements — what do we stand to gain, probability of being caught and size of punishment — end up describing much of the result.
"Not only is it a bad descriptor of human behavior, it's also a bad input for policy. Think about it: When we try to curb dishonesty in the world, what do we do? We get more police force, we increase punishment in prison. If those are not the things that people consider when they think about committing a particular crime, then all of these efforts are going to be wasted."
Read the rest of this revealing Ariely's new book interview here: TruthLie

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