Can we Regulate 'Good' People in Subtle Conflicts of Interest Situations

38 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2014 Last revised: 10 Jul 2015

See all articles by Yuval Feldman

Yuval Feldman

Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law

Eliran Halali

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Psychology

Date Written: July 10, 5


The growing recognition of the notion of ‘good people’ suggests that many ethically relevant behaviors that were previously assumed to be choice-based, conscious, and deliberate decisions, are in many cases the product of automatic/intuitive processes that prevent people from recognizing the wrongfulness of their behaviour – an idea dubbed by several leading scholars as an ethical blind spot. With the rise of the focus on good people in psychology and management, the lack of discussion on the implications of this growing literature to law and regulation is quite puzzling. The main question, this study will attempt to explore is what are the implications of this literature to legal policy making. We examined, experimentally, using two m-Turk studies, the efficacy of deterrence- and morality-based interventions in preventing people who are in subtle conflict of interest from favoring their self-interest over their professional integrity and to behave objectively. Results demonstrate that while the manipulated conflict was likely to “corrupt” people under intuitive/automatic mind-set (Experiment 1), explicit/deliberative mechanisms (both deterrence- and morality-based) had a much larger constraining effect overall on participants’ judgment than did implicit measures, with no differences between deterrence and morality (Experiment 2). The findings demonstrate how little is needed to create a risk to the integrity of individuals, but they also suggest that a modest explicit/deliberative intervention can easily remedy much of the wrongdoing.

Keywords: Behavioral Ethics, Corruption, Conflict of interest, Dual Reasoning; Business Ethics

JEL Classification: c91;

Suggested Citation

Feldman, Yuval and Halali, Eliran, Can we Regulate 'Good' People in Subtle Conflicts of Interest Situations (July 10, 5). Available at SSRN: or

Yuval Feldman (Contact Author)

Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Faculty of Law
Ramat Gan, 52900

Eliran Halali

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Psychology ( email )

972-3-531-8717 (Phone)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics