Institutions, shared guilt, and moral transgression
We study how institutional design 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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