Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Moral Preferences, Moral Constraints, and Self-Serving Biases

Contents:

Author Info

  • Rabin, Matthew

Abstract

Economists have formally modeled moral dispositions by directly incorporating into utility analysis concern for the well-being of others. But sometimes moral dispositions are not preferences, as connoted by utility analysis, but rather are ingrained as (internal) constraints. I present a model fleshing out this distinction: If moral dispositions are internal constraints on a person's real goal of pursuing her self-interest, she will be keen to self-servingly gather, avoid, and interpret relevant evidence, for the purpose of relaxing this constraint and pursuing her self interest. This gives rise to self-serving biases in moral reasoning. I show that this alternative model has some implications different from a standard utility model. Specifically, because a person seeks to avoid information that interferes with her self interest, the scope for social influence in moral conduct is greater than it is in the conventional model. Outside parties can improve a person's moral conduct by a) forcing her to receive certain information, b) discouraging her from (selectively) thinking about other information, or c) encouraging her to think through moral principles before she knows where her self interest lies.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/97r6t5vf.pdf;origin=repeccitec
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley in its series Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt97r6t5vf.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 01 Aug 1995
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt97r6t5vf

Contact details of provider:
Postal: F502 Haas, Berkeley CA 94720-1922
Phone: (510) 642-1922
Fax: (510) 642-5018
Email:
Web page: http://www.escholarship.org/repec/iber_econ/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: altruism; fairness; morality; non-expected utility; reciprocal altruism; selective exposure; self-serving biases; social influence; Social and Behavioral Sciences;

Other versions of this item:

References

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Rafael Di Tella & Ricardo Pérez-Truglia, 2010. "Conveniently Upset: Avoiding Altruism by Distorting Beliefs About Others," NBER Working Papers 16645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael R. Ransom & Gordon B. Dahl, 1999. "Does Where You Stand Depend on Where You Sit? Tithing Donations and Self-Serving Beliefs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 703-727, September.
  3. Isabelle Brocas & Juan D Carrillo, 2007. "The Brain as a Hierarchical Organization," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001587, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Bryan Caplan, 2002. "Systematically Biased Beliefs About Economics: Robust Evidence of Judgemental Anomalies from the Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 433-458, April.
  5. Passarelli, Francesco & Tabellini, Guido, 2013. "Emotions and Political Unrest," CEPR Discussion Papers 9446, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Jon Elster, 1996. "Transmutation and Misrepresentation," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 23, pages 3-23.
  7. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Willpower and Personal Rules," CEPR Discussion Papers 3143, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Ernesto Dal Bó & Marko Terviö, 2008. "Self-Esteem, Moral Capital, and Wrongdoing," NBER Working Papers 14508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Matthew Ellman & Paul Pezanis-Christou, 2007. "Organisational structure, communication and group ethics," Working Papers 290, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  10. Timo Tammi, 2011. "Contractual preferences and moral biases: social identity and procedural fairness in the exclusion game experiment," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 373-397, December.
  11. Peter H. Kriss & George Loewenstein & Xianghong Wang & Roberto A. Weber, 2011. "Behind the veil of ignorance: Self-serving bias in climate change negotiations," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(7), pages 602-615, October.
  12. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D, 2002. "Are We All Better Drivers than Average? Self-Perception and Biased Behaviour," CEPR Discussion Papers 3603, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt97r6t5vf. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.