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Moral hypocrisy, power and social preferences

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  • Rustichini, Aldo
  • Villeval, Marie Claire

Abstract

We study how individuals adjust their judgment of fairness and unfairness when they are in the position of spectators before and after making real decisions, and how this adjustment depends on the actions they take in the game. We find that norms that appear universal instead take into account the players’ bargaining power. Also, individuals adjust their judgments after playing the game for real money, when they behaved more selfishly and only in games where choices have no strategic consequence. We interpret this possibly self-deceptive adjustment of judgments to actions as moral hypocrisy. This behavior appears produced by the attempt to strike a compromise between self-image and payoffs, so as to release oneself of one's responsibility for selfish behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Rustichini, Aldo & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2014. "Moral hypocrisy, power and social preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 10-24.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:107:y:2014:i:pa:p:10-24
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2014.08.002
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Hypocrisy In The Lab
      by Robin Hanson in Overcoming Bias on 2012-06-13 05:20:41

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Moral hypocrisy; Fairness; Social preferences; Power; Self-deception; Experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory

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