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A Theory of Moral Persistence: Crypto-Morality and Political Legitimacy

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  • Avner Greif

    ()
    (Stanford University)

  • Steven Tadelis

    (Walter A. Haas School of Business, University of California-Berkeley)

Abstract

Why, how, and under what conditions do moral beliefs persist despite institutional pressure for change? Why do the powerful often fail to promote the morality of their authority? This paper addresses these questions by presenting the role of crypto-morality in moral persistence. Crypto-morality is the secret adherence to one morality while practicing another in public. A simple overlapping generations model is developed to examine the conditions under which crypto-morality is practiced, decays and influences the direction of moral change. We demonstrate the empirical relevance of crypto-morality by discussing the moral foundations of political legitimacy in various historical episodes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 09-028.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:09-028

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Keywords: crypto-morality; political legitimacy;

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References

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  1. Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 2005. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," NBER Working Papers 11208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1997. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," DELTA Working Papers 97-03, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  3. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2000. "A model of cultural transmission, voting and political ideology," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 5-29, March.
  4. G. Hodgson., 2007. "What Are Institutions?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 8.
  5. Masahiko Aoki, 2001. "Toward a Comparative Institutional Analysis," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011875, December.
  6. Tabellini, Guido, 2007. "The Scope of Cooperation: Values and incentives," CEPR Discussion Papers 6534, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Rubin, Jared, 2014. "Centralized institutions and cascades," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 340-357.
  8. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
  9. Eli Berman, 2000. "Sect, Subsidy, And Sacrifice: An Economist'S View Of Ultra-Orthodox Jews," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 905-953, August.
  10. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5505, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Kuran, Timur, 1987. "Preference Falsification, Policy Continuity and Collective Conservatism," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 642-65, September.
  12. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1992. "Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-Riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 271-91, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Rubin, Jared, 2014. "Centralized institutions and cascades," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 340-357.
  2. Mendelski, Martin & Libman, Alexander, 2011. "History matters, but how? An example of Ottoman and Habsburg legacies and judicial performance in Romania," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 175, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
  3. Vidal-Robert, Jordi, 2014. "Long-run effects of the Spanish Inquisition," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 192, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  4. Metin M. Cosgel & Thomas J. Miceli & Jared Rubin, 2010. "The Political Economy of Mass Printing: Legitimacy and Technological Change in the Ottoman Empire," Working papers 2010-02, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2012.
  5. Brousseau, Eric & Garrouste, Pierre & Raynaud, Emmanuel, 2011. "Institutional changes: Alternative theories and consequences for institutional design," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/7073, Paris Dauphine University.

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