Road-side produce stand with honor system

Ethics and markets

Competitive markets are a core institution of the world economy. Gains from trade and competition for the best innovations and most cost-effective production technology have brought numerous breakthroughs that changed the way many humans live, travel and communicate. There however is ample evidence that this growth was neither sustainable nor equitable. In the 21st century the world community tries to find agreement how to avoid catastrophic climate change and biodiversity loss as well as how to let more humans participate in the wealth that has accumulated. Much evidence suggests that competitive markets may harm intrinsic pro-sociality that is needed for harmonious and empathetic social interactions in society. Recognizing that there is a large gap between the ends of a just society and blunt economic growth, we ask research questions that address moral concerns. This research topic therefore asks

  • How does competition affect social behavior?
  • What societal institutions are able to foster pro-social interactions?
  • What is the magnitude of discrimination in economic settings? How can we alleviate it?
  • Where do (pro-social) preferences originate and how are they shaped by institutions?