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Economic Development and the Regulation of Morally Contentious Activities

Author

Listed:
  • Julio J. Elias
  • Nicola Lacetera
  • Mario Macis
  • Paola Salardi

Abstract

The regulation of many activities depends on whether societies consider them morally controversial or “repugnant”. Not only have regulation and related ethical concerns changed over time, but there is also heterogeneity across countries at a given time. We provide evidence of this heterogeneity for three morally contentious activities: abortion, prostitution and gestational surrogacy, and explore the relationship between a country’s economic conditions and how these activities are regulated. We propose a conceptual framework to identify mechanisms that can explain our findings (including the role of non-economic factors), and indicate directions for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Julio J. Elias & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis & Paola Salardi, 2017. "Economic Development and the Regulation of Morally Contentious Activities," NBER Working Papers 23214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23214
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Esther Duflo, 2012. "Women Empowerment and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1051-1079, December.
    2. Andrei Shleifer & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Rafael La Porta, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 285-332, June.
    3. Gary S. Becker & Julio Jorge Elías, 2007. "Introducing Incentives in the Market for Live and Cadaveric Organ Donations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 3-24, Summer.
    4. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Jonathan Gruber & Phillip Levine, 2007. "Abortion Legalization and Life-Cycle Fertility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
    5. Elias, Julio & Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2016. "Efficiency-Morality Trade-Offs in Repugnant Transactions: A Choice Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 10187, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Scott Cunningham & Manisha Shah, 2014. "Decriminalizing Indoor Prostitution: Implications for Sexual Violence and Public Health," NBER Working Papers 20281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    8. Alvin E. Roth, 2007. "Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 37-58, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Julio Elias & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis, 2017. "Understanding repugnance: Implications for public policy," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 614, Universidad del CEMA.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • Z18 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Public Policy

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