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Social Class and (Un)ethical Behavior: Evidence from a Large Population Sample

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  • Trautmann, Stefan T.

    (Tilburg University)

  • van de Kuilen, Gijs

    (Tilburg University)

  • Zeckhauser, Richard J.

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

We test whether and how membership in the upper class affects ethical behavior in a large representative population sample. Using objective measures of socioeconomic status to define class, we find no evidence of a general tendency for upper class to be less ethical, although we do replicate previous findings that higher status leads to less condemnation of infidelity. We also find evidence that higher class status leads to more self-focus and disengagement, as previously shown in laboratory studies with convenience samples.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp12-019.

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Date of creation: May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp12-019

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  1. Matthias Sutter & Martin Kocher, 2007. "Trust and trustworthiness across different age groups," Artefactual Field Experiments 00110, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
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