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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. G. Hodgson., 2007. "What Are Institutions?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 8.
  2. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1999. "A model of cultural transmission, voting and political ideology," DELTA Working Papers 1999-13, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  3. Rubin, Jared, 2011. "Centralized institutions and cascades," MPRA Paper 32364, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2001. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 298-319, April.
  5. 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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  7. Guido Tabellini, 2007. "The Scope of Cooperation: values and incentives," Working Papers 328, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  8. 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.
  9. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 23-48, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. Brousseau, Eric & Garrouste, Pierre & Raynaud, Emmanuel, 2011. "Institutional changes: Alternative theories and consequences for institutional design," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 3-19.
  2. 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.
  3. Rubin, Jared, 2011. "Centralized institutions and cascades," MPRA Paper 32364, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Vidal-Robert, Jordi, 2014. "Long-run effects of the Spanish Inquisition," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 192, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  5. 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.

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