Social Class and (Un)Ethical Behavior: Evidence from a Large Population Sample

15 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2012 Last revised: 19 Sep 2012

See all articles by Stefan Trautmann

Stefan Trautmann

Tilburg University

Gijs van de Kuilen

Tilburg University

Richard J. Zeckhauser

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 21, 2012

Abstract

We test whether and how membership in the upper class affects ethical behavior in a large representative population sample. Using objective measures of socioeconomic status to define class, we find no evidence of a general tendency for upper class to be less ethical, although we do replicate previous findings that higher status leads to less condemnation of infidelity. We also find evidence that higher class status leads to more self-focus and disengagement, as previously shown in laboratory studies with convenience samples.

Keywords: behavioral ethics

Suggested Citation

Trautmann, Stefan and van de Kuilen, Gijs and Zeckhauser, Richard J., Social Class and (Un)Ethical Behavior: Evidence from a Large Population Sample (May 21, 2012). HKS Working Paper No. RWP12-019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2148669 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2148669

Stefan Trautmann (Contact Author)

Tilburg University ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, DC Noord-Brabant 5000 LE
Netherlands

Gijs Van de Kuilen

Tilburg University ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, DC Noord-Brabant 5000 LE
Netherlands

Richard J. Zeckhauser

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-1174 (Phone)
617-384-9340 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-1174 (Phone)
617-496-3783 (Fax)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
90
Abstract Views
808
rank
297,985
PlumX Metrics