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Rules or Consequences? The Role of Ethical Mindsets in Moral Dynamics

Author

Listed:
  • Gert Cornelissen
  • Michael R. Bashshur
  • Julian Rode
  • Marc Le Menestrel

Abstract

Recent research on the dynamics of moral behavior has documented two contrasting phenomena - moral consistency and moral balancing. Moral balancing refers to the phenomenon whereby behaving (un)ethically decreases the likelihood of doing so again at a later time. Moral consistency describes the opposite pattern - engaging in (un)ethical behavior increases the likelihood of doing so later on. Three studies support the hypothesis that individuals' ethical mindset (i.e., outcome-based versus rule-based) moderates the impact of an initial (un)ethical act on the likelihood of behaving ethically in a subsequent occasion. More specifically, an outcome-based mindset facilitates moral balancing and a rule-based mindset facilitates moral consistency.

Suggested Citation

  • Gert Cornelissen & Michael R. Bashshur & Julian Rode & Marc Le Menestrel, 2012. "Rules or Consequences? The Role of Ethical Mindsets in Moral Dynamics," Working Papers 601, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:601
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nina Mazar & Dan Ariely, 2006. "Dishonesty in everyday life and its policy implications," Working Papers 06-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dolan, Paul & Galizzi, Matteo M., 2015. "Like ripples on a pond: Behavioral spillovers and their implications for research and policy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-16.
    2. Dolan, Paul & Galizzi, Matteo M., 2014. "Because I'm worth it: a lab-field experiment on the spillover effects of incentives in health," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60356, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Gallier, Carlo & Reif, Christiane & Römer, Daniel, 2015. "Consistent or balanced? On the dynamics of voluntary contributions," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-060 [rev.], ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    4. Hannes Rusch, 2015. "Do Bankers Have Deviant Moral Attitudes? ?Negative Results from a Tentative Survey," Rationality, Markets and Morals, Frankfurt School Verlag, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, vol. 6(92), January.
    5. Ploner, Matteo & Regner, Tobias, 2013. "Self-image and moral balancing: An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 374-383.
    6. Ek, Claes, 2015. "Prosocial Behavior and Policy Spillovers: A Multi-Activity Approach," Working Papers 2015:26, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 11 Sep 2017.
    7. Ostermaier, Andreas & Uhl, Matthias, 2017. "Spot On For Liars! How Public Scrutiny Influences Ethical Behavior," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168167, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Gallier, Carlo & Reif, Christiane & Römer, Daniel, 2014. "Consistent or balanced? On the dynamics of voluntary contributions," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-060, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    9. repec:spr:manrev:v:67:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11301-017-0128-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Clot, Sophie & Grolleau, Gilles & Ibanez, Lisette, 2014. "Smug Alert! Exploring self-licensing behavior in a cheating game," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 191-194.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    moral balancing; moral consistency; ethical mindsets; ethical behavior;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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