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Morality and Conflicts

  • Dorothee Schmidt

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany)

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    In recent debates, morality or social norms have been proposed as an instrument to reduce conflict behavior. As the argument goes, moral people will not engage in socially not-tolerated behavior or, less so than amoral people. Analyzing this question in the framework of contest theory, we find that if morality can discriminate between appropriation and defense, it is an effective instrument to lower socially unwanted behavior and support the enforcement of property rights. If it cannot discriminate between these different conflict efforts, strategic effects due to a one-sided increase in morality might actually lead to total increased conflict effort in the economy.

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    File URL: http://www.coll.mpg.de/pdf_dat/2005_12online.pdf
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    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in its series Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods with number 2005_12.

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    Length: 22 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2005_12
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    6. Skaperdas, Stergios, 1996. "Contest Success Functions," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 283-90, February.
    7. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
    8. Herschel I. Grossman, 2000. "The Creation of Effective Property Rights," NBER Working Papers 7897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Christian Riis & Derek J. Clark, 1997. "Contest success functions: an extension," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 201-204.
    10. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
    11. Steven Shavell, 2002. "Law versus Morality as Regulators of Conduct," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 227-257.
    12. Posner, Richard A, 1997. "Social Norms and the Law: An Economic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 365-69, May.
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