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Institutions, shared guilt, and moral transgression

  • Rothenhäusler, Dominik
  • Schweizer, Nikolaus
  • Szech, Nora
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    We study how institutional design in influences moral transgression. People are heterogeneous in their feelings of guilt and can share guilt with others. Institutions determine the number of supporters necessary for immoral outcomes to occur. With more supporters required, every supporter can share guilt more easily. This facilitates becoming a supporter. Conversely, an institution requiring more supporters must rely on people who have higher individual moral standards. We analyze individual thresholds for agreeing to a transgression, depending on the available options for sharing guilt by institutional design. On the aggregate level, we study how institutions affect the likelihood of immoral outcomes.

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    File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/87708/1/770486223.pdf
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    Paper provided by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 47.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:kitwps:47
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.wiwi.kit.edu/

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    1. Björn Bartling & Urs Fischbacher, 2008. "Shifting the Blame: On Delegation and Responsibility," TWI Research Paper Series 32, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    2. Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2013. "Deception: The role of guilt," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 227-232.
    3. Li Hao & Wing Suen, 2009. "Viewpoint: Decision-making in committees," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(2), pages 359-392, May.
    4. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2011. "Identity, Morals, and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 805-855.
    5. Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
    6. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Rosenthal, Howard, 1984. "Participation and the provision of discrete public goods: a strategic analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 171-193, July.
    7. Joseph E Harrington Jr, 2001. "A Simple Game-Theoretic Explanation for the Relationship Between Group Size and Helping," Economics Working Paper Archive 417, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    8. Huck, Steffen & Konrad, Kai A., 2003. "Moral cost, commitment, and committee size
      [Moralische Kosten, Selbstbindung und die Größe von Komitees]
      ," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2003-31, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    9. John R. Hamman & George Loewenstein & Roberto A. Weber, 2010. "Self-Interest through Delegation: An Additional Rationale for the Principal-Agent Relationship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1826-46, September.
    10. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
    11. Crettez, Bertrand & Deloche, Regis, 2011. "On the optimality of a duty-to-rescue rule and the cost of wrongful intervention," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 263-271.
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