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A note on the Trolley Problem and Three Weaknesses of Economic Theory

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  • Alessandro Lanteri

    ()
    (Faculty of Political Science, Università del Piemonte Orientale at Alessandria)

Abstract

The trolley problem is a moral dilemmas in which human lives are in danger and some, but not all, can be saved by direct intervention of a decision-maker. This article discusses three weaknesses of microeconomics with respect to individual conduct in the trolley problem: (i) it cannot make predictions; (ii) after observing the conduct of participants in an experiment, it cannot explain their decisions; (iii) it cannot suggest policies that ensure the maximization of aggregate welfare, nor can it suggest laws that endorse the prevailing observed conduct.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/Pubs/EB/2010/Volume30/EB-10-V30-I1-P45.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by AccessEcon in its journal Economics Bulletin.

Volume (Year): 30 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 500-507

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Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-09-00618

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Related research

Keywords: experiment; moral dilemma; trolley problem;

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  1. Robin Cubitt & Michalis Drouvelis & Simon Gaechter & Ruslan Kabalin, 2009. "Moral Judgments in Social Dilemmas: How Bad is Free Riding?," Discussion Papers 2009-15, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  2. Alessandro Lanteri & Chiara Chelini & Salvatore Rizzello, 2008. "An Experimental Investigation of Emotions and Reasoning in the Trolley Problem," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 83(4), pages 789-804, December.
  3. Sen, Amartya, 1985. "Goals, Commitment, and Identity," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 341-55, Fall.
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