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The (In)Elasticity of Moral Ignorance

Serra-Garcia, Marta; Szech, Nora


Ignorance enables individuals to act immorally. This is well known in policy circles, in which there is keen interest in lowering moral ignorance. In this paper, we study how the demand for moral ignorance responds to monetary incentives and how the demand curve for ignorance reacts to social norm messages. We propose a simple behavioral model in which individuals suffer moral costs when behaving selfishly in the face of moral information. In several experiments, we find that moral ignorance decreases by more than 30 percentage points with small monetary incentives, but we find no significant change with social norm messages, and we document strong persistence of ignorance across moral contexts. Our findings indicate that rather simple messaging interventions may have limited effects on ignorance. In contrast, changes in incentives could be highly effective.

DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.2021.4153
Web of Science
Zitationen: 2
Zitationen: 9
Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre (ECON)
Publikationstyp Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Publikationsmonat/-jahr 07.2022
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator ISSN: 0025-1909, 1526-5501
KITopen-ID: 1000143230
Erschienen in Management science
Verlag Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS)
Band 68
Heft 7
Seiten 4815–4834
Vorab online veröffentlicht am 22.11.2021
Nachgewiesen in Dimensions
Web of Science
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