The Behavioral Ethics Challenges Of COVID-19 Crisis to Recovery

56 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2020

Date Written: August 5, 2020


The major argument of this article is that the insights from the behavioral ethics literature on bounded ethicality, ethical blind spots, ethical fading, erosion, corrosion, numbing, and fatigue and good people doing unethical things, should be extended to the behaviour of individuals and organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis of 2020. Special emphasis is placed on the behavior and misconduct of normally good people when jurisdictions are moving from the crisis to the recovery stage of the pandemic after a long lockdown period; and on providing guidance and possible lessons learned to assist governments, their policy and law makers and other organizations and stakeholders to prepare for the pre-crisis stage of the next pandemic which many believe is virtually inevitable. The major contribution of these literatures and this article is that they illustrate how and why a behavioral ethics and economics lens can provide guidance on a wide range of COVID-19 issues discussed in the media and recent academic studies over the past seven months.

Keywords: behavioral ethics, bounded ethicality and rationality, misconduct of good people, pandemics as a wicked problem

Suggested Citation

Ireland, Derek John, The Behavioral Ethics Challenges Of COVID-19 Crisis to Recovery (August 5, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Derek John Ireland (Contact Author)

Carleton University ( email )

1125 colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6

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