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Does market interaction erode moral values?


Bartling, Björn; Fehr, Ernst; Özdemir, Yagiz (2020). Does market interaction erode moral values? Working paper series / Department of Economics 360, University of Zurich.

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. An encompassing understanding of the virtues and vices of markets, including their possible impact on moral values, is necessary to make informed decisions on the spheres in society where the allocation and incentive functions of markets should exercise their power, and where this may not be desirable. In a seminal and highly 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, however, reveal that repeated play 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 market interaction erodes moral values.

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. An encompassing understanding of the virtues and vices of markets, including their possible impact on moral values, is necessary to make informed decisions on the spheres in society where the allocation and incentive functions of markets should exercise their power, and where this may not be desirable. In a seminal and highly 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, however, reveal that repeated play 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 market interaction erodes moral values.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:C91, D02, D62, D63
Uncontrolled Keywords:Market interaction, moral values
Language:English
Date:August 2020
Deposited On:01 Sep 2020 14:14
Last Modified:01 Sep 2020 14:14
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
Number of Pages:17
ISSN:1664-705X
OA Status:Green
Official URL:https://www.econ.uzh.ch/en/research/workingpapers.html?paper-id=1042

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