Moral preferences and visibility
Reputational concerns are supposed to provide the best incentive for people to behave morally. Benabou and al ask under what conditions low morality individuals will act prosocially, for example, refuse a “bribe” for causing harm? Their model identifies two equilibria depending on how visible the “good deed” is: when the visibility is high there exists a pooling equilibrium where both low-morality and high-morality people act prosocially and refuse the “bribe”. When the visibility is low, there exists a separating equilibrium where low morality people will accept the bribe and high morality people will refuse it! How can then policy makers elicit prosocial behavior?
Eliciting Moral Preferences
Authors: Roland Benabou, Armin Falk, Jean Tirole
From: Princeton University, University of Bonn, Toulouse School of Economics
Moral preferences and ignorance
Ignorance renders it easier for individuals to engage in questionable ethical behavior: for example, many art collectors and museum managers ignore the origins of potentially stolen art work. In this paper, Serra-Garcia and Szech ask whether moral ignorance can be easily reduced with monetary incentives or non-monetary incentives, such as “moral nudges”.
We show that the demand curve for moral ignorance exhibits a sharp kink, of about 50 percent, when moving from small negative to small positive monetary incentives. By contrast, while social norms strongly favor information acquisition, they have little impact on curbing moral ignorance.
The (in)elasticity of moral ignorance
Authors: Marta Serra-Garcia, Nora Szech
From: University of California, San Diego, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology