Self-esteem, Moral Capital, and Wrongdoing
In order to help understand adherence to moral standards and the force of intrinsic motivation, we present an infinite-horizon model where an individual receives random temptations (such as bribe offers) and must decide which to resist. Temptations yield consumption value, but keeping a good self-image (a high belief of being the type of person that resists) yields self-esteem. Individual actions depend both on types and intent, so selecting a good intent does not guarantee good behavior and past resistance is informative of a good type. We identify conditions for individuals to build an introspective reputation for goodness ("moral capital") and for good actions to lead to a stronger disposition to do good. Bad actions destroy moral capital and lock-in further wrongdoing. Economic shocks that result in higher temptations have persistent effects on wrongdoing that fade only as new generations replace the shocked cohorts. Societies with the same moral fundamentals may display different wrongdoing rates depending on how much past luck has polarized the distribution of individual beliefs. The model helps rationalize taboos, harsher punishment of repeat offenders, and a tendency of individuals with low moral capital to enter high-temptation activities.
|Date of creation:||2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA|
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
- Gary S. Becker, 1974.
"Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach,"
in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Polinsky, A. Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1998. "On offense history and the theory of deterrence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 305-324, September.
- Roland Benabou and Jean Tirole, 2004.
"Willpower and Personal Rules,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 848-886, August.
- Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Corruption, Norms, and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1020-1048, December.
- Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 2004.
"A Dual Self Model of Impulse Control,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
2049, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Drew Fudenberg & David K Levine, 2005. "A Dual Self Model of Impulse Control," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000876, David K. Levine.
- Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 2006. "A Dual-Self Model of Impulse Control," Scholarly Articles 3196335, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 2006. "A Dual Self Model of Impulse Control," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2112, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Kjell Arne Brekke & Snorre Kverndokk & Karinen Nyborg, 2000.
"An Economic Model of Moral Motivation,"
290, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
- Benjamin Hermalin & Alice Isen, 2008. "A model of the effect of affect on economic decision making," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 17-40, March.
- repec:oup:restud:v:63:y:1996:i:1:p:1-22 is not listed on IDEAS
- A. Mitchell Polinsky & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 1991.
"A Model of Optimal Fines for Repeat Offenders,"
NBER Working Papers
3739, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Rabin, Matthew, 1994.
"Cognitive dissonance and social change,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-194, March.
- Rabin, Mathew, 1991. "Cognitive Dissonance and Social Change," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt37b169jt, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Matthew Rabin., 1991. "Cognitive Dissonance and Social Change," Economics Working Papers 91-180, University of California at Berkeley.
- Cervellati, Matteo & Esteban, Joan & Kranich, Laurence, 2006.
"The Social Contract with Endogenous Sentiments,"
IZA Discussion Papers
2312, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Joan Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2003. "The Social Contracts with Endogenous Sentiments," Working Papers 71, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Laurence Kranich & Matteo Cervellati & Joan Esteban, 2006. "The Social Contract with Endogenous Sentiments," Discussion Papers 06-06, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
- Matteo Cervellati & Joan Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2007. "The Social Contract with Endogenous Sentiments," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 702.07, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
- Matteo Cervellati & Joan Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2007. "The Social Contract with Endogenous Sentiments," Working Papers 311, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Rabin, Matthew, 1995.
"Moral Preferences, Moral Constraints, and Self-Serving Biases,"
Department of Economics, Working Paper Series
qt97r6t5vf, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Matthew Rabin., 1995. "Moral Preferences, Moral Constraints, and Self-Serving Biases," Economics Working Papers 95-241, University of California at Berkeley.
- B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2004. "Addiction and Cue-Triggered Decision Processes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1558-1590, December.
- Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 2007. "Moral Rules, the Moral Sentiments, and Behavior: Toward a Theory of an Optimal Moral System," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 494-514.
- repec:oup:restud:v:67:y:2000:i:3:p:529-44 is not listed on IDEAS
- George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed008:245. 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: (Christian Zimmermann)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.