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A little good is good enough: Ethical consumption, cheap excuses, and moral self-licensing

Listed author(s):
  • Engel, Jannis
  • Szech, Nora
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    We explore the role of cheap excuses in product choice. If a product improves upon one ethically relevant dimension, agents may care less about other, completely independent ethical facets of the product. This 'static moral self-licensing' would extend the logic of the well-studied moral self-licensing over time. Our data document that static moral self-licensing exists. Furthermore, effects spill over to later, unrelated but ethically relevant contexts. Thus, static moral self-licensing and moral self-licensing over time amplify each other. Outsiders, though incentivized for correct estimates, are completely oblivious to effects of moral selflicensing, both, static and over time.

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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/157373/1/885193903.pdf
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    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change with number SP II 2017-301.

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    Date of creation: 2017
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbeoc:spii2017301
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    1. Thomas Deckers & Armin Falk & Fabian Kosse & Nora Szech, 2016. "Homo Moralis: Personal Characteristics, Institutions, and Moral Decision-Making," CESifo Working Paper Series 5800, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Björn Bartling & Roberto A. Weber & Lan Yao, 2015. "Do Markets Erode Social Responsibility?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(1), pages 219-266.
    3. Friedrichsen, Jana & Engelmann, Dirk, 2013. "Who cares for social image? Interactions between intrinsic motivation and social image concerns," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79746, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Falk, Armin & Becker, Anke & Dohmen, Thomas & Huffman, David B. & Sunde, Uwe, 2016. "The Preference Survey Module: A Validated Instrument for Measuring Risk, Time, and Social Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 9674, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Armin Falk & Nora Szech, 2016. "Pleasures of Skill and Moral Conduct," CESifo Working Paper Series 5732, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence and Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915.
    7. Alexander M. Danzer & Robert Grundke, 2016. "Coerced Labor in the Cotton Sector: How Global Commodity Prices (Don't) Transmit to the Poor," CESifo Working Paper Series 5937, CESifo Group Munich.
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