Social class and (un)ethical behaviour: Causal and correlational evidence

Elisabeth Gsottbauer*, Daniel Mueller, Samuel Mueller, Stefan T. Trautmann, Galina Zudenkova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Are individuals of higher socio-economic status less ethical than those of lower status? Highly popularised research findings claim that this is the case. This paper provides evidence against this claim, based on data from two large survey experiments with more than 11,000 participants. We prime social status in two heterogeneous samples of the German population and then elicit ethical behaviour in an incentivised experimental task. Thus, our data allows us to study both correlation (using demographic data) and causality (using the priming). Our study rejects the claim that higher social status individuals are less ethical on both accounts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2392-2411
Number of pages20
JournalEconomic Journal
Volume132
Issue number647
Early online dateMar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2022

Keywords

  • PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR
  • INDIVIDUALS
  • INEQUALITY
  • IDENTITY
  • ECONOMICS
  • CULTURE
  • INCOME
  • LESS

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