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The Morality of Markets


  • Mathias Dewatripont
  • Jean Tirole


Scholars and civil society have argued that competition erodes supplier morality by offering consumer choice: "If I don't do it, someone else will". This paper establishes a robust irrelevance result, whereby intense market competition does not crowd out consequentialist ethics; it thereby issues a strong warning against the wholesale moral condemnation of markets and procompetitive institutions. Intense competition, while not altering the behavior of protable suppliers, however may reduce the standards of highly ethical suppliers or non-profits, raising the potential need to protect the latter in the marketplace.

Suggested Citation

  • Mathias Dewatripont & Jean Tirole, 2022. "The Morality of Markets," Working Papers ECARES 2022-35, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/351283

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Leonardo Bursztyn & Ingar Haaland & Aakaash Rao & Christopher Roth, 2020. "Disguising Prejudice: Popular Rationales as Excuses for Intolerant Expression," Working Papers 2020-73, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    2. Atul Gupta & Sabrina T Howell & Constantine Yannelis & Abhinav Gupta, 2021. "Does Private Equity Investment in Healthcare Benefit Patients? Evidence from Nursing Homes," Working Papers 2021-20, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    3. Björn Bartling & Vanessa Valero & Roberto A. Weber & Yao Lan, 2020. "Public Discourse and Socially Responsible Market Behavior," CESifo Working Paper Series 8531, CESifo.
    4. Jean Tirole, 2006. "The Theory of Corporate Finance," Post-Print hal-00173191, HAL.
    5. Atul Gupta & Sabrina T. Howell & Constantine Yannelis & Abhinav Gupta, 2021. "Does Private Equity Investment in Healthcare Benefit Patients? Evidence from Nursing Homes," NBER Working Papers 28474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Joel Mokyr, 2016. "A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10835.
    7. Satz, Debra, 2010. "Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195311594.
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    More about this item


    Competition; consequentialism; replacement effect; non-profits; corporate social responsability; strategic complementarities; race to the ethical bottom.;
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