Policies Designed for Self-Interested Citizens May Undermine "The Moral Sentiments": Evidence from Economic Experiments

@article{Bowles2008PoliciesDF,
  title={Policies Designed for Self-Interested Citizens May Undermine "The Moral Sentiments": Evidence from Economic Experiments},
  author={Samuel Bowles},
  journal={Science},
  year={2008},
  volume={320},
  pages={1605 - 1609}
}
  • S. Bowles
  • Published 20 June 2008
  • Economics
  • Science
High-performance organizations and economies work on the basis not only of material interests but also of Adam Smith's “moral sentiments.” Well-designed laws and public policies can harness self-interest for the common good. However, incentives that appeal to self-interest may fail when they undermine the moral values that lead people to act altruistically or in other public-spirited ways. Behavioral experiments reviewed here suggest that economic incentives may be counterproductive when they… 

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