Cooperation Creates Special Moral Obligations

30 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2018

See all articles by Alexander Cappelen

Alexander Cappelen

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)

Varun Gauri

World Bank; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Bertil Tungodden

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 13, 2018

Abstract

A large-scale economic experiment, conducted on a representative sample of the US population, shows that cooperation creates special moral obligations. Participants in the experiment, acting as impartial spectators, transferred significantly more money to an unlucky worker when two individuals had cooperated than when they had worked independently. The authors further show that the effect of cooperation is strongly associated with political affiliation, with Democrats attaching significantly more importance to cooperation as a source of moral obligation than Republicans. The findings shed light on the foundations of redistributive preferences and may contribute to explain the often observed asymmetry in moral concern for different groups of individuals, both nationally and internationally.

Keywords: Judicial System Reform, Gender and Development, Inequality, Public Sector Management and Reform

Suggested Citation

Cappelen, Alexander and Gauri, Varun and Tungodden, Bertil, Cooperation Creates Special Moral Obligations (July 13, 2018). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8531, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3238374

Alexander Cappelen (Contact Author)

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)

Helleveien 30
Bergen, NO-5045
Norway

Varun Gauri

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/vgauri

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Bertil Tungodden

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway

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