The Duty to Support Nationalistic Policies

26 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2009 Last revised: 28 Jan 2010

See all articles by Jonathan Baron

Jonathan Baron

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Psychology

Ilana Ritov

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - School of Education

Joshua D. Greene

Harvard University - Department of Psychology

Date Written: January 17, 2009

Abstract

We demonstrate that citizens perceive a duty to support policies that benefit their nation, even when they themselves judge that the consequences of the policies will be worse on the whole, taking outsiders into account. Hypothetical choices follow this perceived duty and do not violate it for the sake of better consequences. The discrepancy between duty and judged consequences does not seem to result from self-interest alone. When asked for reasons, many subjects felt an obligation to help their fellow citizens before others, and they also thought that they owed something to their nation, in return for what it did for them. The obligation to help fellow citizens was the strongest predictor of perceived duty. In an experiment with Israeli and Palestinian students, group membership affected both perceived overall consequences and duty, although subjects still showed a greater group duty than predicted by perceived consequences.

Keywords: duty, parochialism, nationalism, biases, utilitarianism

JEL Classification: D74, D63

Suggested Citation

Baron, Jonathan and Ritov, Ilana and Greene, Joshua D., The Duty to Support Nationalistic Policies (January 17, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1329330 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1329330

Jonathan Baron (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Psychology ( email )

3815 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6196
United States
215-898-6918 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~baron

Ilana Ritov

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - School of Education ( email )

Mt. Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
+972 2 652 9929 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://pluto.huji.ac.il/~msiritov/ilana_ritov.htm

Joshua D. Greene

Harvard University - Department of Psychology ( email )

33 Kirkland St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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