ECONOMIC MAN AS A MORAL INDIVIDUAL

Authors

  • RICHARD S. DOWELL,

    1. Adjunct Professor of Economics, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Phone 1–405-447-6480 Fax 1–405-364-8057
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  • ROBERT S. GOLDFARB,

    1. Professor of Economics, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., Phone 1–202-994-7581 Fax 1–202-994-6147 E-mail gldfrb@gwis2.circ.gwu.edu
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  • WILLIAM B. GRIFFITH

    1. Professor of Philosophy, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., Phone 1–202-994-6265 Fax 1–202-994-8683, E-mail wbg@gwis2.circ.gwu.edu
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    • *Helpful comments were provided by Andrew Altman, Steve Baldwin, Bryan Boulier, Tim Brennan, Kathleen Carroll, David DeGrazia, Marsha Goldfarb, John Ittner, Arjo Klamer, Douglas Lamdin, Thomas C. Leonard, Arun Malik, Michael McPherson, Stephen Smith, Steve Suranovic, Tony Yezer, several anonymous referees, and the editor.


Abstract

We propose a concrete method for including moral concerns in preferences. In our framework, the agent maximizes utility subject to constraints, but the utility from consuming a specific commodity bundle varies in a “lumpy” or “discontinuous” way with the concurrent moral content of the individual's behavior. Our method also indicates how constraints vary with this moral content. Our approach seems more intuitively appealing than several competing frameworks, and can be used to explain a number of otherwise puzzling phenomena. (JEL D11, A13)

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