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The (in)elasticity of moral ignorance

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  • Serra-Garcia, Marta
  • Szech, Nora

Abstract

We investigate the elasticity of preferences for moral ignorance with respect to monetary incentives and social norm information. We propose a model where uncertainty differentially decreases the moral costs of unethical behavior, and benchmark the demand curve for moral ignorance against a morally neutral context. In line with the model, selfishness is a main determinant of moral ignorance, and the demand curve for moral ignorance is highly elastic when information shifts from being costly to incentivized. Moral ignorance is considered morally inappropriate. Providing this information increases moral behavior but does not shift the demand curve for ignorance.

Suggested Citation

  • Serra-Garcia, Marta & Szech, Nora, 2018. "The (in)elasticity of moral ignorance," Working Paper Series in Economics 120, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:kitwps:120
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Claire Rimbaud & Alice Soldà, 2021. "Avoiding the Cost of your Conscience: Belief Dependent Preferences and Information Acquisition," Working Papers halshs-03325963, HAL.
    2. Silvia Saccardo & Marta Serra-Garcia, 2020. "Cognitive Flexibility or Moral Commitment? Evidence of Anticipated Belief Distortion," CESifo Working Paper Series 8529, CESifo.
    3. Davide Pace & Joël van der Weele, 2020. "Curbing Carbon: An Experiment on Uncertainty and Information about CO2 emissions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 20-059/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    4. Lata Gangadharan & Philip J. Grossman & Nina Xue, 2021. "Identifying self-image concerns from motivated beliefs: Does it matter how and whom you ask?," Monash Economics Working Papers 2021-17, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    5. Romain Espinosa & Jan Stoop, 2021. "Do people really want to be informed? Ex-ante evaluations of information-campaign effectiveness," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 24(4), pages 1131-1155, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    information avoidance; morality; unethical behavior; social norms;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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