Politicians who lie often benefit from it, study finds

James Besanvalle
Saturday 29 August 2020 13:15
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(Getty)

News flash! Politicians lie.

Ok, maybe that’s not the most shocking news headline in the world – but the fact that a new study confirming that lying can actually benefit politicians in getting re-elected should send chills down your spine.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study – carried out by a team at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona – asked 816 mayors across Spain to flip a coin and record which side it landed on.

The catch was that if it landed on heads, they would receive their results but if it landed on tails, they wouldn’t.

Statistically, around half of the mayors should’ve recorded tails and the other half heads but that wasn’t the case at all.

Around 68 per cent of mayors reported the coin landing on heads.

The study concluded:

Because the probability of heads is known, we can estimate the proportion of mayors who lied to obtain the report. We find that a large and statistically significant proportion of mayors lied.

Analysing the results further, the study also found that members of the two major political parties lied significantly more, as well as men and women being equally likely to lie.

Interestingly, it found a “negative relationship between truth-telling and re-election”, which they concluded:

Suggests that dishonesty might help politicians survive in office.

In *completely* unrelated news, according to a recent Washington Post report, over the course of Donald Trump's presidency, he has made more than 20,000 false or misleading claims.

Trump also recently refused to answer a journalist's question about whether he "regrets all the lying”.

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