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Cooperation Creates Special Moral Obligations

Alexander Cappelen (), Varun Gauri and Bertil Tungodden ()

No 7052, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo Group Munich

Abstract: A large-scale economic experiment, conducted on a representative sample of the US popula- tion, shows that cooperation creates special moral obligations. Participants in the experiment, acting as impartial spectators, transferred significantly more money to an unlucky worker when two individuals had cooperated than when they had worked independently. We further show that the effect of cooperation is strongly associated with political affiliation, with Democrats attaching significantly more importance to cooperation as a source of moral obligation than Republicans. Our findings shed light on the foundations of redistributive preferences and may contribute to explain the often observed asymmetry in moral concern for different groups of individuals, both nationally and internationally.

Keywords: cooperation; distributive justice; redistribution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-evo, nep-exp and nep-hpe
Date: 2018
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