Journal of Business & Economic Policy

ISSN 2375-0766 (Print), 2375-0774 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jbep

Guilt and Pro-Social Behavior amongst Workers in an Online Labor Market
Dr. Moran Blueshtein

Do workers in online labor markets feel guilt after behaving unethically? Recent laboratory studies with student participants have found that participants who made a financial gain from an unethical decision were more likely to subsequently engage in a prosocial behavior than participants who did not engage in that unethical decision. This inconsistency in preferences was attributed to guilt, whereby violations of a social norm induce a feeling of guilt that motivates a pro-social behavior. We find that these results do not hold in an online labor market setting, namely on Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk). Instead, MTurk workers who chose to be truthful despite the loss of potential gains were also the ones who were more likely to subsequently donate to a charity. Our study may have important implications to understand whether prior research on pro-social and unethical behavior extends to real-life business settings.

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