Moral Universalism: Measurement and Heterogeneity

70 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2019

See all articles by Benjamin Enke

Benjamin Enke

Harvard University

Ricardo Rodriguez-Padilla

Harvard University, Department of Economics

Florian Zimmermann

briq Institute on Behavior and Inequality

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

This paper introduces a new set of simple experimentally-validated survey games to measure moral universalism: the extent to which people exhibit the same level of altruism and trust towards strangers as towards in-group members. In a representative sample of the U.S. population, an individual's degree of universalism is largely a domain-general trait. Older people, men, whites, the rich, the rural, and the religious exhibit less universalist preferences and beliefs. Looking at economic behaviors and outcomes, universalists donate less money locally but more globally, are less likely to exhibit home bias in equity and educational investments, have fewer friends, and report being more lonely.

Keywords: moral universalism, in-group bias

Suggested Citation

Enke, Benjamin and Rodriguez-Padilla, Ricardo and Zimmermann, Florian, Moral Universalism: Measurement and Heterogeneity (2019). CESifo Working Paper No. 7921, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3480927

Benjamin Enke (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ricardo Rodriguez-Padilla

Harvard University, Department of Economics ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02138

Florian Zimmermann

briq Institute on Behavior and Inequality ( email )

Schaumburg-Lippe-Strasse 5-9
53113 Bonn
Germany

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