Morally-Motivated Self-Regulation

Morally-Motivated Self-Regulation

American Economic Review.
2010, Vol. 100, Issue 4, Pages 1299-1329

Self-regulation is the private provision of public goods and private redistribution. This paper examines the scope of self-regulation motivated by altruistic moral preferences that are reciprocal and stronger the closer are citizens in a socioeconomic distance. The focus is on the role of organizations in increasing self-regulation by mitigating free-rider problems. Social label and certification organizations can expand the scope of self-regulation but not beyond that with unconditional altruism. Enforcement organizations expand the scope of self-regulation farther, and for-profit enforcement is more aggressive than nonprofit enforcement. Enforcement through social pressure imposed by NGOs also expands the scope of self-regulation.