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Economic Development and the Regulation of Morally Contentious Activities

Author

Listed:
  • Julio J. Elías
  • Nicola Lacetera
  • Mario Macis
  • Paola Salardi

Abstract

The regulation of many activities depends on whether societies consider them morally controversial or "repugnant." Not only have regulation and related ethical concerns changed over time, but there is also heterogeneity across countries at a given time. We provide evidence of this heterogeneity for three morally contentious activities, abortion, prostitution, and gestational surrogacy, and explore the relationship between a country's economic conditions and how these activities are regulated. We propose a conceptual framework to identify mechanisms that can explain our findings (including the role of non-economic factors), and indicate directions for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Julio J. Elías & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis & Paola Salardi, 2017. "Economic Development and the Regulation of Morally Contentious Activities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 76-80, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:5:p:76-80
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20171098
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Esther Duflo, 2012. "Women Empowerment and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1051-1079, December.
    2. Marshall H. Medoff, 2002. "The Determinants and Impact of State Abortion Restrictions," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 481-493, April.
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    5. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Jonathan Gruber & Phillip Levine, 2007. "Abortion Legalization and Life-Cycle Fertility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
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    7. Julio J. Elias & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis, 2015. "Sacred Values? The Effect of Information on Attitudes toward Payments for Human Organs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 361-365, May.
    8. Alvin E. Roth, 2007. "Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 37-58, Summer.
    9. Jeffrey A. Miron & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 1995. "The Economic Case against Drug Prohibition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 175-192, Fall.
    10. Julio Elias & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis, 2016. "Efficiency-Morality Trade-Offs in Repugnant Transactions: A Choice Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 6085, CESifo.
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    Cited by:

    1. Della Giusta, Marina & Di Tommaso, Maria Laura & Jewell, Sarah & Bettio, Francesca, 2019. "Quashing Demand Criminalizing Clients? Evidence from the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 12405, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Julio Elias & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis, 2017. "Understanding repugnance: Implications for public policy," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 614, Universidad del CEMA.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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