Justice Sensitivity, Moral Emotions, and Altruistic Punishment

29 Pages Posted: 21 May 2010

See all articles by Sebastian Lotz

Sebastian Lotz

Yale University

Anna Baumert

University of Koblenz-Landau

Detlef Fechtenhauer

University of Cologne

Franz Gresser

ServiceRating

Thomas Schlösser

University of Cologne

Abstract

Why do some people engage in costly bystander intervention against norm violations without any personal direct or indirect gains? The present study investigates justice sensitivity and moral emotions as determinants of such altruistic punishment. We propose that the individual strength of other-directed justice concerns explains the willingness to altruistically punish wrongdoers. Moreover, we show that moral emotions provide the driving motivation and mediate the effect of justice sensitivity on altruistic punishment. Results of an experimental study (N = 91) show such a mediation effect for justice sensitivity from the beneficiary perspective, but not for observer and victim sensitivity. Further, the study investigates reasons for defaulted punishment. The results suggest that selfishness is not the only reason for not punishing. While people high in beneficiary and observer sensitivity rather argue based on moral reasons or admit to feel guilty for not engaging in altruistic punishment, people high in victim-sensitivity provide reasons mainly based on selfish concerns. Taken together, the study provides important insight in the motivations involved in altruistic punishment.

Suggested Citation

Lotz, Sebastian and Baumert, Anna and Fechtenhauer, Detlef and Gresser, Franz and Schlösser, Thomas, Justice Sensitivity, Moral Emotions, and Altruistic Punishment. IACM 23rd Annual Conference Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1612791 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1612791

Sebastian Lotz (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Anna Baumert

University of Koblenz-Landau ( email )

56070 Koblenz-Metternich
Germany

Detlef Fechtenhauer

University of Cologne ( email )

Albertus-Magnus-Platz
Cologne, 50923
Germany

Franz Gresser

ServiceRating ( email )

Germany

Thomas Schlösser

University of Cologne ( email )

Albertus-Magnus-Platz
Cologne, 50923
Germany

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