Morality is an elusive term, but there exists an academic common sense that immoral behavior involves harming others in an unjustified way.
Research over the past decades showed that individuals’ behavior in moral decision-making is volatile. We now know that individuals’ moral behavior is affected by institutions, image concerns, or circumstances. Enhancing our understanding of the complexity of moral transgressions is a crucial goal. It could help us design fairer market institutions and prevent harmful outcomes stemming from market interactions or organizational design, e.g., detrimental working conditions, or environmental damage.
The work of briq researchers on the malleability of moral behavior helped to put the topic of morality in the spotlight of economic science. In 2013 Falk and Szech published an article in Science in which they used controlled experimental evidence to show how market interactions sway peoples’ moral behavior. In 2015, Armin Falk received an ERC Advanced Grant. As part of the ERC funded project, Falk highlights how image concerns, social pressure and comparisons, the circulation of excuses, and the diffusion of being pivotal affect moral outcomes.
Bénabou’s influential theoretical work on the determinants of prosocial behavior completes the experimental research done by Falk, DellaVigna, Malmendier, and Others. Papers of briq researchers got published in Journals like Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, and Review of Economic Studies.