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Organizations, diffused pivotality and immoral outcomes

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  • Falk, Armin
  • Szech, Nora
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    Abstract

    This paper studies how organizational design affects moral outcomes. Subjects face the decision to either kill mice for money or to save mice. We compare a Baseline treatment where subjects are fully pivotal to a Diffused-Pivotality treatment where subjects simultaneously choose in groups of eight. In the latter condition eight mice are killed if at least one subject opts for killing. The fraction of subjects deciding to kill is higher when pivotality is diffused. The likelihood of killing is monotone in subjective perceptions of pivotality. On an aggregate level many more mice are killed in Diffused-Pivotality than Baseline. -- Diese Arbeit untersucht den Einfluss von institutionellem Design auf moralische Entscheidungen. Die Teilnehmer entscheiden, ob sie dem Tod von Mäusen für Geld zustimmen möchten, oder ob sie die Mäuse retten möchten. Wir vergleichen eine Baseline-Versuchsanordnung, in der die Teilnehmer individuell über das Leben einer Maus entscheiden und somit sicher pivotal sind, mit einer Diffused-Pivotality-Anordnung, bei der simultan in Gruppen zu jeweils acht Mitgliedern entschieden wird. In letzterer Anordnung werden acht Mäuse getötet, wenn sich wenigstens ein Mitglied für die Tötung ausspricht. Die Anzahl der Personen, die der Tötung zustimmen, ist höher, wenn die Pivotalität gestreut ist. Die Wahrscheinlichkeit zu töten steigt in der Pivotalitätswahrnehmung der Teilnehmer. Auf aggregierter Ebene werden bei Diffused-Pivotality erheblich mehr Mäuse getötet als in der Baseline-Anordnung.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change with number SP II 2013-303.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbeoc:spii2013303

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    Related research

    Keywords: Diffused Pivotality; Moral Decision Making; Committees; Group Decisions; Moral Transgression;

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    1. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2004. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," Working Papers, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics. 137, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
    2. John R. Hamman & George Loewenstein & Roberto A. Weber, 2010. "Self-Interest through Delegation: An Additional Rationale for the Principal-Agent Relationship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1826-46, September.
    3. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    4. Björn Bartling & Urs Fischbacher, 2012. "Shifting the Blame: On Delegation and Responsibility," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 67-87.
    5. Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
    6. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
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