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Moral Judgments, Gender, and Social Preferences: An Experimental Study

Author

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  • Juergen Bracht

    (University of Aberdeen)

  • Adam Zylbersztejn

    () (GATE - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - ENS LSH - Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

We study questionnaire responses to moral dilemmas hypothetical situations in which sacrificing one life may save many other lives. We demonstrate gender differences in moral judgments: male participants are more supportive of the sacrifice than female participants. We investigate the importance of the previously studied source of the endorsement of the sacrfice: antisocial attitudes. First, we elicit the individual proneness to spiteful behavior using an incentivized experimental game. We demonstrate that spitefulness can be sizable but it is not associated with gender. Second, we find that gender is associated with moral judgments even when we account for individual differences in antisocial attitudes. Our results suggest that the performance of many institutions (related to the distribution of wealth or punishment, for instance) may be affected by the gender of the decision-makers. Abstract We study questionnaire responses to moral dilemmas hypothetical situations in which sacric-ing one life may save many other lives. We demonstrate gender dierences in moral judgments: male participants are more supportive of the sacrice than female participants. We investigate the importance of the previously studied source of the endorsement of the sacrice: antisocial attitudes. First, we elicit the individual proneness to spiteful behavior using an incentivized experimental game. We demonstrate that spitefulness can be sizable but it is not associated with gender. Second, we nd that gender is associated with moral judgments even when we account for individual dierences in antisocial attitudes. Our results suggest that the performance of many institutions (related to the distribution of wealth or punishment, for instance) may be aected by the gender of the decision-makers.

Suggested Citation

  • Juergen Bracht & Adam Zylbersztejn, 2016. "Moral Judgments, Gender, and Social Preferences: An Experimental Study," Working Papers halshs-01382464, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-01382464
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01382464v2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David K. Levine, 1998. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 593-622, July.
    2. Charness, Gary & Grosskopf, Brit, 2001. "Relative payoffs and happiness: an experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 301-328, July.
    3. Ryan O. Murphy & Kurt A. Ackerman & Michel J. J. Handgraaf, 2011. "Measuring social value orientation," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(8), pages 771-781, December.
    4. Natalie Gold & Andrew M. Colman & Briony D. Pulford, 2014. "Cultural differences in responses to real-life and hypothetical trolley problems," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 9(1), pages 65-76, January.
    5. Andrea L. Glenn & Spassena Koleva & Ravi Iyer & Jesse Graham & Peter H. Ditto, 2010. "Moral identity in psychopathy," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 5(7), pages 497-505, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dickinson, David L. & Masclet, David, 2019. "Using ethical dilemmas to predict antisocial choices with real payoff consequences: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 195-215.

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    Keywords

    gender; moral dilemmas; moral judgments; spite; antisocial attitudes; experiment;

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