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Journal Articles Journal of Economic Issues Year : 2021

How relative concerns affect unethical behaviors

Naoufel Mzoughi


We analyze positional concerns in the unethical domain. We introduce an original distinction between "selective" positionality-where individuals prefer behaving unethically but to a lesser extent than peers-and "ego" positionality-where they prefer behaving unethically but to a higher extent than peers, regardless of the absolute level. We also report the results of an exploratory survey in Algeria that exploits the counterintuitive insight that people are better at predicting others' behaviors than their own behaviors. We increase the finding's generalizability by conducting the same survey among a similar sample in France. Our findings are twofold: first, the majority of participants attributes to others preferences for ethical (i.e., where everyone is honest) and unethical egalitarian (where all are similarly dishonest) situations. Second, a non-negligible proportion of respondents attributes to the average individual preferences for either selective or ego-positionality in unethical behaviors.
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hal-03434068 , version 1 (12-09-2023)




Latifa Barbara, Gilles Grolleau, Naoufel Mzoughi. How relative concerns affect unethical behaviors. Journal of Economic Issues, 2021, 55 (4), pp.939-953. ⟨10.1080/00213624.2021.1982344⟩. ⟨hal-03434068⟩
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