"Thou Shalt Not Covet ...": Prohibitions, Temptation and Moral Values

40 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2013

See all articles by Matteo Cervellati

Matteo Cervellati

University of Bologna - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Instituto de Análisis Económic (IAE) Barcelona

Paolo Vanin

University of Bologna - Department of Economics

Abstract

This paper proposes a theory of the relationship between prohibitions and temptation. In presence of self-control problems, moral values may increase individual material welfare (and utility) by serving as a self-commitment device. The model investigates the relationship between morality and temptation, the individual gains from morality, the interaction between external sanctions and moral self-punishment and the spread and strength of individually optimal moral values. The empirical analysis, based on survey data for a large set of countries, documents a hump-shaped pattern of morality in social class, which supports the theoretical predictions of the model.

Keywords: self-control, temptation, prohibitions, moral values, crime

JEL Classification: D03, K42, Z13

Suggested Citation

Cervellati, Matteo and Vanin, Paolo, "Thou Shalt Not Covet ...": Prohibitions, Temptation and Moral Values. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7334, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2250333

Matteo Cervellati (Contact Author)

University of Bologna - Department of Economics ( email )

Strada Maggiore 45
Bologna, 40125
Italy
+39-2092605 (Phone)
+39-2092664 (Fax)

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/

Instituto de Análisis Económic (IAE) Barcelona

Barcelona, Bellaterra 08193
Spain

Paolo Vanin

University of Bologna - Department of Economics ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, BO 40126
Italy
+39-0512098120 (Phone)
+39-0512098040 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/paolovanin/

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