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Status Inequality, Moral Disengagement and Violence

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  • Falk, Armin

    () (briq, University of Bonn)

Abstract

This paper studies the causal effect of status differences on moral disengagement and violence. To measure violent behavior, in the experiment, a subject can inflict a painful electric shock on another subject in return for money. We exogenously vary relative status in the realm of sexual attractiveness. In three between-subject conditions, the assigned other subject is either of higher, lower or equal status. The incidence of electric shocks is substantially higher among subjects matched with higher- and lower-status others, relative to subjects matched with equal-status others. This causal evidence on the role of status inequality on violence suggests an important societal cost of economic and social inequalities.

Suggested Citation

  • Falk, Armin, 2017. "Status Inequality, Moral Disengagement and Violence," IZA Discussion Papers 10921, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10921
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    morality; violence; status; inequality; laboratory experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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