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“Thou shalt not covet”: Prohibitions, temptation and moral values

Matteo Cervellati () and Paolo Vanin ()

Journal of Public Economics, 2013, vol. 103, issue C, 15-28

Abstract: This paper proposes a theory of the relationship between prohibitions and temptation. In the presence of self-control problems, moral values may increase individual material welfare (and utility) by serving as a self-commitment device. The model investigates the relationship between morality and temptation, the individual gains from morality, the interaction between external sanctions and moral self-punishment and the spread and strength of individually optimal moral values. The empirical analysis, based on survey data for a large set of countries, documents a hump-shaped pattern of morality in social class, which supports the theoretical predictions of the model.

Keywords: Prohibitions; Temptation; Self-control; Moral values; Crime (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D03 K42 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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Related works:
Working Paper: "Thou Shalt Not Covet...": Prohibitions, Temptation and Moral Values (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: ”Thou shalt not covet...”: Prohibitions, Temptation and Moral Values (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: ”Thou shalt not covet...”: Prohibitions, Temptation and Moral Values (2010) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:103:y:2013:i:c:p:15-28

DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2013.04.001

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