Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1089278
 
 

References (32)



 


 



Self-Esteem, Moral Capital, and Wrongdoing


Ernesto Dal Bo


University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business - Business and Public Policy

Marko Terviö


Aalto University

January 31, 2008


Abstract:     
In order to help understand adherence to moral standards and the force of intrinsic motivation, we present an infinite-horizon model where an individual receives random temptations (such as bribe offers) and must decide which to resist. Temptations yield consumption value, but keeping a good self-image (a high belief of being the type of person that resists) yields self-esteem. Individual actions depend both on types and intent, so selecting a good intent does not guarantee good behavior and past resistance is informative of a good type. We identify conditions for individuals to build an introspective reputation for goodness ("moral capital") and for good actions to lead to a stronger disposition to do good. Bad actions destroy moral capital and lock-in further wrongdoing. Economic shocks that result in higher temptations have persistent effects on wrongdoing that fade only as new generations replace the shocked cohorts. Societies with the same moral fundamentals may display different wrongdoing rates depending on how much past luck has polarized the distribution of individual beliefs. The model helps rationalize taboos, harsher punishment of repeat offenders, and a tendency of individuals with low moral capital to enter high-temptation activities.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 45

Keywords: Keywords: moral capital, intrinsic motivation, wrongdoing, moral costs, self-esteem, corruption, crime

JEL Classification: D83,D91, K4, Z13

working papers series


Download This Paper

Date posted: February 4, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Dal Bo, Ernesto and Terviö, Marko, Self-Esteem, Moral Capital, and Wrongdoing (January 31, 2008). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1089278 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1089278

Contact Information

Ernesto Dal Bo
University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business - Business and Public Policy ( email )
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
Marko Terviö (Contact Author)
Aalto University ( email )
P.O. Box 21240
Helsinki, 00101
Finland
HOME PAGE: http://hse-econ.fi/tervio
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 511
Downloads: 110
Download Rank: 129,825
References:  32

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo3 in 0.329 seconds