Moral Hypocrisy, Power and Social Preferences
GATE Working Paper No. 1216
44 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2012 Last revised: 4 Sep 2014
Date Written: September 2, 2013
We study how individuals adjust their judgment of fairness and unfairness when they are in the position of spectators before and after making real decisions, and how this adjustment depends on the actions they take in the game. We find that norms that appear universal instead take into account the players’ bargaining power. Also, individuals adjust their judgments after playing the game for real money, when they behaved more selfishly and only in games where choices have no strategic consequence. We interpret this possibly self-deceptive adjustment of judgments to actions as moral hypocrisy. This behavior appears produced by the attempt to strike a compromise between self-image and payoffs, so as to release oneself of one’s responsibility for selfish behavior.
Keywords: Moral hypocrisy, fairness, social preferences, power, self-deception
JEL Classification: D03, D63, C91, C7
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation