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Does market interaction erode moral values?

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  • Björn Bartling
  • Ernst Fehr
  • Yagiz Özdemir

Abstract

The widespread use of markets leads to unprecedented material well-being in many societies. We study whether market interaction, as a side effect, erodes moral values. In an influential paper, Falk and Szech (2013) provide experimental data that seem to suggest that “market interaction erodes moral values.” Although we replicate their main treatment effect, we show that additional treatments are necessary to corroborate their conclusion. These treatments reveal that playing repeatedly, and not market interaction, causes the erosion of moral values. Our paper thus shows that neither Falk and Szech’s data nor our data support the claim that markets erode morals.

Suggested Citation

  • Björn Bartling & Ernst Fehr & Yagiz Özdemir, 2020. "Does market interaction erode moral values?," ECON - Working Papers 360, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Jan 2021.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:360
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Harris, Colin & Myers, Andrew & Kaiser, Adam, 2023. "The humanizing effect of market interaction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 205(C), pages 489-507.
    2. Riehm, Tobias & Fugger, Nicolas & Gillen, Philippe & Gretschko, Vitali & Werner, Peter, 2022. "Social norms, sanctions, and conditional entry in markets with externalities: Evidence from an artefactual field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 212(C).
    3. Dufwenberg, Martin & Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Kirchler, Michael & Lindner, Florian & Schwaiger, Rene, 2022. "Mean markets or kind commerce?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 209(C).
      • Martin Dufwenberg & Olof Johansson Stenman & Michael Kirchler & Florian Lindner & Rene Schwaiger, 2021. "Mean Markets or Kind Commerce?," Working Papers 2021-07, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, Universität Innsbruck.
    4. Drouvelis, Michalis & Gomez-Martinez, Francisco, 2023. "The impact of group identity on experimental markets with externalities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 158(C).
    5. Christoph Huber & Anna Dreber & Jürgen Huber & Magnus Johannesson & Michael Kirchler & Utz Weitzel & Miguel Abellán & Xeniya Adayeva & Fehime Ceren Ay & Kai Barron & Zachariah Berry & Werner Bönte , 2023. "Competition and moral behavior: A meta-analysis of forty-five crowd-sourced experimental designs," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 120(23), pages 2215572120-, June.
    6. Muehlheusser, Gerd & Promann, Timo & Roider, Andreas & Wallmeier, Niklas, 2024. "Honesty of Groups: Effects of Size and Gender Composition," IZA Discussion Papers 16954, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Bartling, Björn & Özdemir, Yagiz, 2023. "The limits to moral erosion in markets: Social norms and the replacement excuse," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 143-160.
    8. Nigus, Halefom Yigzaw & Nillesen, Eleonora & Mohnen, Pierre & Di Falco, Salvatore, 2023. "Markets and socially responsible behavior: do punishment and religion matter?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 209(C), pages 572-593.
    9. Karen Evelyn Hauge & Snorre Kverndokk & Andreas Lange, 2021. "Why People Oppose Trade Institutions - On Morality, Fairness and Risky Actions," CESifo Working Paper Series 9456, CESifo.
    10. Choi, Ginny Seung & Storr, Virgil Henry, 2023. "The morality of markets in theory and empirics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 216(C), pages 590-607.
    11. Greiff, Matthias & Rusch, Hannes, 2022. "Sharing responsibility for the good," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 101(C).
    12. Feess, Eberhard & Kerzenmacher, Florian & Timofeyev, Yuriy, 2022. "Utilitarian or deontological models of moral behavior—What predicts morally questionable decisions?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 149(C).
    13. Feess, Eberhard & Kerzenmacher, Florian & Muehlheusser, Gerd, 2023. "Morally questionable decisions by groups: Guilt sharing and its underlying motives," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 380-400.
    14. Devesh Rustagi, 2023. "Market Exposure, Civic Values, and Rules," Discussion Papers 2023-05, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    15. Callais, Justin & Harris, Colin & Borchard, Ben, 2022. "The moral costs of markets: Testing the deterioration hypothesis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 204(C), pages 200-220.
    16. Benistant, Julien & Galeotti, Fabio & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2022. "Competition, information, and the erosion of morals," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 204(C), pages 148-163.
    17. Kaisa Kotakorpi & Satu Metsälampi & Topi Miettinen & Tuomas Nurminen, 2021. "The role of reporting institutions and image motivation in tax evasion and incidence," Working Papers 2133, Tampere University, Faculty of Management and Business, Economics.
    18. Zou, Wenbo & Wang, Jinjie & Yan, Jubo, 2022. "Online markets and trust," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 201(C), pages 395-412.
    19. Gächter, Simon & Kölle, Felix & Quercia, Simone, 2022. "Preferences and perceptions in Provision and Maintenance public goods," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 338-355.
    20. Ge, Ge & Godager, Geir, 2021. "Predicting strategic medical choices: An application of a quantal response equilibrium choice model," Journal of choice modelling, Elsevier, vol. 39(C).
    21. Buser, Thomas & Cappelen, Alexander & Tungodden, Bertil, 2021. "Fairness and Willingness to Compete," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 8/2021, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    22. Byambadalai, Undral & Ma, Ching-to Albert & Wiesen, Daniel, 2023. "Changing preferences: An experiment and estimation of market-incentive effects on altruism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C).
    23. Andreas Ziegler & Giorgia Romagnoli & Theo Offerman, 2020. "Morals in multi-unit markets," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 20-072/I, Tinbergen Institute, revised 10 Feb 2021.
    24. Kaisa Kotakorpi & Tuomas Nurminen & Topi Miettinen & Satu Metsälampi, 2022. "Bearing the burden – Implications of tax reporting institutions and image concerns on evasion and incidence," Working Papers 3, Finnish Centre of Excellence in Tax Systems Research.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Market interaction; moral values;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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