IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/inn/wpaper/2019-03.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

When do people exploit moral wiggle room? An experimental analysis in a market setup

Author

Listed:
  • Katharina Momsen

    ()

  • Markus Ohndorf

    ()

Abstract

We investigate if decision makers exploit moral wiggle room in green market settings. We therefore implement a laboratory experiment in which subjects purchase products associated with externalities. In six between-subjects treatments, we alter the availability of information on the externalities, the price of revealing information as well as the nature of the externality, which could either affect another subject or change the amount spent by the experimenters on carbon offsets. We find that subjects do not exploit moral wiggle room when revealing information is costless. When a very small cost of revealing information is introduced, their behavior depends on the relation between prices and externalities. In situations in which it is relatively cheap to have a large impact on the recipient's payoff, subjects exploit moral wiggle room in order to choose selfishly. For other parametrizations, subjects behave either honestly egoistically or altruistically.

Suggested Citation

  • Katharina Momsen & Markus Ohndorf, 2019. "When do people exploit moral wiggle room? An experimental analysis in a market setup," Working Papers 2019-03, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  • Handle: RePEc:inn:wpaper:2019-03
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www2.uibk.ac.at/downloads/c4041030/wpaper/2019-03.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nyborg, Karine, 2011. "I don't want to hear about it: Rational ignorance among duty-oriented consumers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 263-274, August.
    2. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2011. "Identity, Morals, and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 805-855.
    3. Zachary Grossman & Joël J. van der Weele, 2017. "Self-Image and Willful Ignorance in Social Decisions," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 173-217.
    4. Ian A. MacKenzie & Markus Ohndorf & Charles Palmer, 2012. "Enforcement-proof contracts with moral hazard in precaution: ensuring 'permanence' in carbon sequestration," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 350-374, April.
    5. Zachary Grossman, 2014. "Strategic Ignorance and the Robustness of Social Preferences," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(11), pages 2659-2665, November.
    6. Tobias Regner, 2018. "Reciprocity under moral wiggle room: Is it a preference or a constraint?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(4), pages 779-792, December.
    7. Jo?l J. van der Weele & Julija Kulisa & Michael Kosfeld & Guido Friebel, 2014. "Resisting Moral Wiggle Room: How Robust Is Reciprocal Behavior?," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 256-264, August.
    8. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
    9. M. Fong, Christina & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 2011. "Truth in giving: Experimental evidence on the welfare effects of informed giving to the poor," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5-6), pages 436-444, June.
    10. Claudia Schwirplies & Andreas Ziegler, 2016. "Offset carbon emissions or pay a price premium for avoiding them? A cross-country analysis of motives for climate protection activities," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(9), pages 746-758, February.
    11. Blasch, Julia & Ohndorf, Markus, 2015. "Altruism, moral norms and social approval: Joint determinants of individual offset behavior," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 251-260.
    12. Ian MacKenzie & Markus Ohndorf, 2012. "Optimal monitoring of credit-based emissions trading under asymmetric information," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 180-203, October.
    13. Felgendreher, Simon, 2018. "Do consumers choose to stay ignorant? The role of information in the purchase of ethically certified products," Working Papers in Economics 717, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    14. Van Loo, Ellen J. & Caputo, Vincenzina & Nayga, Rodolfo M. & Seo, Han-Seok & Zhang, Baoyue & Verbeke, Wim, 2015. "Sustainability labels on coffee: Consumer preferences, willingness-to-pay and visual attention to attributes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 215-225.
    15. Bock, Olaf & Baetge, Ingmar & Nicklisch, Andreas, 2014. "hroot: Hamburg Registration and Organization Online Tool," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 117-120.
    16. Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
    17. Soham Baksi & Pinaki Bose, 2007. "Credence Goods, Efficient Labelling Policies, and Regulatory Enforcement," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 37(2), pages 411-430, June.
    18. Takahashi, Ryo & Todo, Yasuyuki & Funaki, Yukihiko, 2018. "How Can We Motivate Consumers to Purchase Certified Forest Coffee? Evidence From a Laboratory Randomized Experiment Using Eye-trackers," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 107-121.
    19. M. Fong, Christina & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 2011. "Truth in giving: Experimental evidence on the welfare effects of informed giving to the poor," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 436-444.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Katharina Momsen & Markus Ohndorf, 2019. "Information Avoidance, Selective Exposure, and Fake(?) News-A Green Market Experiment," Working Papers 2019-18, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Momsen, Katharina & Ohndorf, Markus, 2020. "When do people exploit moral wiggle room? An experimental analysis of information avoidance in a market setup," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).
    2. Katharina Momsen & Markus Ohndorf, 2019. "Information Avoidance, Selective Exposure, and Fake(?) News-A Green Market Experiment," Working Papers 2019-18, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    3. Momsen, Katharina & Ohndorf, Markus, 2020. "Information Avoidance, Selective Exposure, and Fake(?) News - A Market Experiment," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224637, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Christine L. Exley, 2020. "Using Charity Performance Metrics as an Excuse Not to Give," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(2), pages 553-563, February.
    5. Tobias Regner, 2018. "Reciprocity under moral wiggle room: Is it a preference or a constraint?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(4), pages 779-792, December.
    6. Katharina Momsen & Markus Ohndorf, 2020. "Expressive Voting vs. Self-Serving Ignorance," Working Papers 2020-33, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    7. Exley, Christine L. & Petrie, Ragan, 2018. "The impact of a surprise donation ask," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 152-167.
    8. Ging-Jehli, Nadja R. & Schneider, Florian H. & Weber, Roberto A., 2020. "On self-serving strategic beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 341-353.
    9. Lind, Jo Thori & Nyborg, Karine & Pauls, Anna, 2019. "Save the planet or close your eyes? Testing strategic ignorance in a charity context," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 9-19.
    10. Stüber, Robert, 2019. "The benefit of the doubt: Willful ignorance and altruistic punishment," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2019-215, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    11. Shaul Shalvi & Ivan Soraperra & Joël van der Weele & Marie Claire Villeval, 2019. "Shooting the Messenger? Supply and Demand in Markets for Willful Ignorance," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 19-071/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    12. Kajackaite, Agne, 2015. "If I close my eyes, nobody will get hurt: The effect of ignorance on performance in a real-effort experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 518-524.
    13. Christine L. Exley & Judd B. Kessler, 2017. "Motivated Errors," Harvard Business School Working Papers 18-017, Harvard Business School, revised May 2018.
    14. Robert Stüber, 2020. "The benefit of the doubt: willful ignorance and altruistic punishment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(3), pages 848-872, September.
    15. Tobias Regner & Astrid Matthey, 2017. "Actions and the self: I give, therefore I am?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2017-018, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    16. Christine L. Exley & Judd B. Kessler, 2019. "Motivated Errors," NBER Working Papers 26595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Kirchkamp, Oliver & Strobel, Christina, 2019. "Sharing responsibility with a machine," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 25-33.
    18. Gneezy, Uri & Saccardo, Silvia & Serra-Garcia, Marta & van Veldhuizen, Roel, 2020. "Bribing the Self," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 311-324.
    19. Tobias Regner, 2018. "What's behind image? towards a better understanding of image-driven behavior," Jena Economic Research Papers 2018-020, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    20. Engel, Christoph & Goerg, Sebastian J., 2018. "If the worst comes to the worst: Dictator giving when recipient’s endowments are risky," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 51-70.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information avoidance; experiment; carbon offsets; moral wiggle room; ethical consumption;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D89 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Other
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inn:wpaper:2019-03. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Janette Walde). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/fuibkat.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.