Becker Friedman Institute

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Guilt in Voting and Public Good Games

This paper analyzes how moral costs affect individual support of morally difficult group decisions. We study a threshold public good game with moral costs. Motivated by recent empirical findings, we assume that these costs are heterogeneous and consist of three parts. The first one is a standard cost term. The second, shared guilt, decreases in the number of supporters. The third hinges on the notion of being pivotal. We analyze equilibrium predictions, isolate the causal effects of guilt sharing, and compare results to standard utilitarian and nonconsequentialist approaches. As interventions, we study information release, feedback, and fostering individual moral standards.

Authors: 
Dominik Rothenhaüsler, Seminar for Statistics, ETH Zurich
Nikolaus Schweizer, Department of Econometrics and OR, Tilburg University
Nora Szech, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
Publication Date: 
November, 2016
Publication Status: 
Document Number: 
2016-026
File Description: 
First version, 2016