Do Disclosures of Conflicts of Interest Make Matters Worse? - iMediaEthics

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(Credit: BostonGlobe, screenshot, highlight added)

Media Bistro reported on an economics study that argues that disclosure of conflict of interest doesn’t fix the conflict of interest.

According to the study, disclosure sometimes makes the conflict of interest worse.

By disclosing, people may feel they have more leeway to pull punches.  One of the academics who worked on the study, University of California Berkeley’s Don Moore, explained:

“We call it moral licensing.  After having behaved honestly and virtuously, you then feel licensed to indulge in being a little bit bad.”

“None of us are saying that transparency is a bad thing,” Yale’s Daylian Cain, who also worked on the study, reportedly said. “But almost always, it fails to work as well as we think it does.”

According to the Boston Globe, “biases are rooted deep in our psychology an can’t be dispelled with a simple confession.”

Read more here.

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Do Disclosures of Conflicts of Interest Make Matters Worse?

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