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Moral Judgments in Social Dilemmas: How Bad is Free Riding?

  • Robin Cubitt
  • Michalis Drouvelis
  • Simon Gachter
  • Ruslan Kabalin

In the last thirty years economists and other social scientists investigated people's normative views on principles of distributive justice. Here we study people's normative views in social dilemmas, which underlie many situations of economic and social significance. Using insights from moral philosophy and psychology we provide an analysis of the morality of free riding. We use experimental survey methods to investigate people's moral judgments empirically. We vary others' contributions, the framing ("give-some" vs. "take-some") and whether contributions are simultaneous or sequential. We find that moral judgments depend strongly on others' behaviour; and that failing to give is condemned more strongly than withdrawing all support.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 09/20.

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Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:09/20
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