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Do professions curb free-riding? An experiment

Michał Krawczyk and Krzysztof Szczygielski
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Michał Krawczyk: University of Warsaw

European Journal of Law and Economics, 2019, vol. 47, issue 3, No 2, 376 pages

Abstract: Abstract The question of ethical conduct is key for professionals, such as lawyers, doctors, or experts of different kinds. We run a laboratory experiment aimed at investigating whether acting within a profession leads to more (or less) ethical, prosocial behaviour compared to acting outside of it. We also investigate how professionals react to others’ misbehaviour. We invite subjects studying or having studied economics, law or medicine and either match them in mixed groups or in homogeneous groups (telling them that we did so). We then let them play public goods games with punishment. Overall, there is little difference in cooperation levels and patterns of punishment between the homogeneous and heterogeneous groups. If anything, our subjects free ride more when matched with their peers than in a mixed group.

Keywords: Professions; Ethics; Self-regulation; Public goods game; Punishment; C92; D71; K20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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