Marta Serra-Garcia, Nora Szech

We investigate the elasticity of moral ignorance with respect to monetary incentives and social norm information. We propose that individuals suffer from higher moral costs when rejecting a certain donation, and thus pay for moral ignorance. Consistent with our model, we find significant willingness to pay for ignorance, which we calibrate against morally neutral benchmark treatments. We show that the demand curve for moral ignorance exhibits a sharp kink, of about 50 percent, when moving from small negative to small positive monetary incentives. By contrast, while social norms strongly favor information acquisition, they have little impact on curbing moral ignorance.

JEL Codes
D83: Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief
D91: Intertemporal Consumer Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
C91: Design of Experiments: Laboratory; Individual
information avoidance
unethical behavior
social norms