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Trustworthiness as a Moral Determinant of Economic Activity: Lessons from the Classics

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  • Michel Zouboulakis

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Abstract

This paper reviews the way that social norms and ethical values in general, and trustworthiness in particular, is perceived to affect the behavior of economic agents in view of the work of Adam Smith, Nassau William Senior and John Stuart Mill. Classical Political economists held that economic actions are context-dependent and thus constantly under the influence of social norms and values. It is further suggested here that Classical Economists had established that trustworthiness acts as a general ethical precondition for the efficient behaviour of the markets and an important asset of the national social capital.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s12143-009-9057-6
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Forum for Social Economics.

Volume (Year): 39 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (October)
Pages: 209-221

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Handle: RePEc:spr:fosoec:v:39:y:2010:i:3:p:209-221

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Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/12143

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Related research

Keywords: Trustworthiness; Economic behaviour; Morality; Political economy; Adam Smith; N.W. Senior; J.S. Mill;

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References

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  1. Nooteboom, B., 2006. "Social Capital, Institutions and Trust," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research 2006-35, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Fontaine, Philippe, 1997. "Identification and Economic Behavior Sympathy and Empathy in Historical Perspective," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 261-280, October.
  3. James Jr., Harvey S., 2002. "The trust paradox: a survey of economic inquiries into the nature of trust and trustworthiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 291-307, March.
  4. Bruni, Luigino & Sugden, Robert, 2008. "Fraternity: Why The Market Need Not Be A Morally Free Zone," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(01), pages 35-64, March.
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  8. Hausman, Daniel M., 2002. "Trustworthiness and self-interest," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 26(9), pages 1767-1783, September.
  9. Sen, Amartya, 2005. "Why Exactly Is Commitment Important For Rationality?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(01), pages 5-14, April.
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  12. Etzioni, Amitai, 1986. "The Case for a Multiple-Utility Conception," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(02), pages 159-184, October.
  13. Bruni, Luigino & Sugden, Robert, 2000. "Moral canals: trust and social capital in the work of Hume, Smith and Genovesi," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(01), pages 21-45, April.
  14. Harvey James, 2002. "The Trust Paradox: A Survey of Economic Inquiries Into the Nature of Trust and Trustworthiness," Microeconomics, EconWPA 0202001, EconWPA.
  15. Hodgson, Geoffrey M, 1997. "The Ubiquity of Habits and Rules," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(6), pages 663-84, November.
  16. Joseph Persky, 1995. "The Ethology of Homo Economicus," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 221-231, Spring.
  17. Jerry Evensky, 2001. "Adam Smith’s Lost Legacy," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 497-517, January.
  18. Nooteboom, Bart, 1995. "Trust, opportunism and governance," Research Report 95B34, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
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