Political Economy

Homo Moralis: Personal Characteristics, Institutions, and Moral Decision-Making

  • Author: Thomas Deckers, Armin Falk, Fabian Kosse and Nora Szech


  • Date: June 2016
  • This paper studies how individual characteristics, institutions, and their interaction influence moral decisions. We validate a moral paradigm focusing on the willingness to accept harming third parties for money. Consequences of moral decisions are real. We explore how moral behavior varies with individual characteristics and how these characteristics interact with market institutions compared to situations of individual decision-making. Intelligence, female gender, and the existence of siblings positively influence moral decisions. This holds for individual contexts as well as for market environments. Therefore, a moral personality, a homo moralis, seems to exist. Looking into interaction effects, a high fluid intelligence turns out to have an over-proportionally protecting impact in overall morals-eroding markets.