【英语财经】研究:银行家有为利撒谎倾向 Bankers have tendency to lie for financial gain, say scientists

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2014-11-20 16:59

小艾摘要: Swiss researchers have come up with what they say is compelling scientific evidence that bankers lie for financial gain.The team at the University of Zurich used game playing experiments to show “tha ...
Bankers have tendency to lie for financial gain, say scientists
Swiss researchers have come up with what they say is compelling scientific evidence that bankers lie for financial gain.

The team at the University of Zurich used game playing experiments to show “that the prevailing culture in the banking industry weakens and undermines the honesty norm, implying that measures to re-establish an honest culture are very important”.

The study, published in the leading journal Nature, probes the psychology behind what the researchers call “a dramatic loss of reputation and a crisis of trust in the financial sector”, as a result of rogue trading, rigged interest rates such as Libor and tax evasion scandals.

Two hundred bankers took part in the study (including 128 from a single unnamed international bank). The researchers divided participants randomly into two halves. Before the game, the “treatment group” was asked a series of questions about work (such as “what is your function at the bank?”) while the “control group” answered questions about everyday life (such as “how many hours of television do you watch per week?”).

In the game, participants tossed a coin ten times, unobserved by anyone, and reported the results online to the researchers. The players knew in advance whether heads or tails would win a $20 reward for each successful toss.

If everyone was completely honest, the proportion of winning tosses across each group would be 50 per cent. The control group came close to this with 51.6 per cent. The treatment group, who had been primed by the preliminary questions to think about banking, reported 58.2 per cent winning tosses – a statistically significant tilt towards dishonesty; the proportion who cheated was estimated at 26 per cent.

The bankers “behave on average honestly in a control situation,” said Michel Maréchal, one of the Zurich team. “When their identity as bank employees is made salient, a significant proportion of them become dishonest.”

To check whether the effect is specific to banking, the researchers carried out the same procedures with people from other industries (pharmaceuticals, telecoms, IT) and with students. In these cases, priming participants with questions about their work did not lead to more cheating.

Commenting on the study, Marie Claire Villeval, economics professor at the University of Lyon, said: “These findings confirm some popular opinions about practices in the financial sector?.?.?.?It is crucial to ensure a business culture of honesty in this industry to restore trust in it.”

The most important thing according to Alain Cohn, another member of the Zurich team, is that “management should lead by example, showing commitment to an honest business culture”.

The Zurich researchers suggest a series of measures that could restore honesty to the financial sector. For example, they support the idea of bankers taking a professional oath akin to the Hippocratic oath for physicians, which would “prompt them to consider the impact of their behaviour on society rather than focusing on their own short-term benefits”.

瑞士科研人员称,基于令人信服的科学证据,他们的研究得出一个结论——银行家会为了经济利益说谎。

这个苏黎世大学(University of Zurich)的研究团队,通过玩游戏的实验方式,证明“银行业的主流文化削弱和破坏了人们的诚信规范,说明重建诚信文化的举措非常重要”。

这项研究成果发布在顶尖学术期刊《自然》(Nature)杂志上。金融界近年来出现了多起流氓交易、利率操纵案件,以及种种避税丑闻,导致金融业“名誉扫地并出现信任危机”。研究人员们在论文中探讨了这些现象背后的心理机制。

共有200名银行家参与了这一研究,其中128人来自同一家未指明的国际银行。研究人员将参与人员随机分成了两组。游戏开始之前,“治疗组”被问到了一系列与工作有关的问题,比如“你在银行的职能是什么?”与此同时,“对照组”则要回答一系列与日常生活有关的问题,比如“你每周看几个小时电视?”

游戏参与者要在无人监督的情况下扔10次硬币,并在网上将结果汇报给研究人员。每扔一次硬币,提前猜对正反面的参与者会赢得20美元奖金。

如果每个人都完全诚实,每个小组中猜对的比例都应该是50%。实验结果显示,对照组的结果为51.6%,接近这一比例。至于事先曾考虑过银行业相关问题的治疗组,报出猜对的比例则为58.2%。统计上来说,该数字大幅倾向于不诚实汇报,作弊的比例估计为26%。

苏黎世团队的成员之一米歇尔?马雷夏尔(Michel Maréchal)表示,银行家在“对照组情况下行为普遍诚实”。“当有人提醒过他们的银行员工身份之后,相当比例的人变得不诚实起来。”

为考察这种效应是否是银行业特有的现象,研究人员对其他行业从业者(包括制药、电信以及IT行业)和学生开展了同样的实验。在这些实验中,预先被问到有关工作的问题并不会导致更多作弊现象。

在对该研究报告的评论中,里昂大学(University of Lyon)经济学教授马里?克莱尔?维勒瓦尔(Marie Claire Villeval)表示:“这些发现确认了有关金融业行为的部分流行观点的正确性……它对于确保该行业商业诚信文化、重建信任十分重要。”

根据苏黎世团队另一位成员阿兰?科恩(Alain Cohn)的说法,最重要的是“管理层应以身作则,展现出建设诚信商业文化的决心”。

苏黎世团队的研究人员还就恢复金融产业诚信的举措提出了一系列建议。比如,他们支持这样一种看法:银行家应该像医生发下希波克拉底誓言(Hippocratic oath)那样,发下职业誓言。他们认为,这么做将“促使他们考虑其行为对社会的影响,而不是将注意力集中在自身的短期收益上”。

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