Dominik Rothenhaüsler, Nikolaus Schweizer, Nora Szech

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.

JEL Codes
D02: Institutions: Design; Formation; and Operations
D03: Behavioral Economics: Underlying Principles
D23: Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
D63: Equity; Justice; Inequality; and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
D82: Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
moral decision making
committee decisions
diffusion of responsibility
Shared guilt
being pivotal
division of labor
institutions and morals