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Conscience Accounting: Emotion Dynamics and Social Behavior

Uri Gneezy, Alex Imas () and Kristóf Madarász ()
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Alex Imas: Social Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213
Kristóf Madarász: London School of Economics, London WC2A 2AE, United Kingdom

Management Science, 2014, vol. 60, issue 11, 2645-2658

Abstract: This paper presents theory and experiments where people's prosocial attitudes fluctuate over time following the violation of an internalized norm. We report the results of two experiments in which people who first made an immoral choice were then more likely to donate to charity than those who did not. In addition, those who knew that a donation opportunity would follow the potentially immoral choice behaved more unethically than those who did not know. We interpret this increase in charitable behavior as being driven by a temporal increase in guilt induced by past immoral actions. We term such behavior conscience accounting and discuss its importance in charitable giving and in the identification of social norms in choice behavior through time inconsistency.Data, as supplemental material, are available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2014.1942 . This paper was accepted by Teck-Hua Ho, behavioral economics .

Keywords: emotion dynamics; bracketing; social norms; moral constraints; prosocial behavior (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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Working Paper: Conscience Accounting: Emotional Dynamics and Social Behavior (2012) Downloads
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