Abstract: In their 2013 Science article, “Morals and Markets,” Armin Falk and Nora Szech presented experimental evidence that markets erode moral values. The present paper addresses problems in their experiment design, treatments, and operational definitions. Laboratory settings are ideal for uncovering certain causal connections, but fall short when market participation is a treatment and moral erosion is a measured outcome. Markets are difficult, if not impossible, to simulate and moral erosion is difficult, if not impossible, to define and measure for the purposes of an experiment. Falk and Szech’s experiment may also suffer from more mundane issues like priming effects, experimenter effects, and changing more than one variable per treatment group.
Download Paper: “Morals and Markets: A Response”