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Dominik H. Enste / Johanna Kary IW-Analyse No. 141 21. January 2021 The Seven Deadly Sins: Interpretations and Recommendations from Behavioral Economics

Envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth and wrath – the so-called seven deadly sins are widely known and even more widely committed. The terms describe seven motives and behavioral patterns which, despite being branded as vices, actually steer many people’s conduct in their daily lives.

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Interpretations and Recommendations from Behavioral Economics
Dominik H. Enste / Johanna Kary IW-Analyse No. 141 21. January 2021

The Seven Deadly Sins: Interpretations and Recommendations from Behavioral Economics

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Envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth and wrath – the so-called seven deadly sins are widely known and even more widely committed. The terms describe seven motives and behavioral patterns which, despite being branded as vices, actually steer many people’s conduct in their daily lives.

The present study ventures a new look at these inner drives, traditionally regarded as “mortal sins” ever since they were designated as such by the early church in 400 AD. Instead of simply condemning those who succumb to these vices on ethical grounds, the authors investigate their origin and consequences and consider how behaviour can be redirected and desires controlled so as to avoid their negative influence. This utilitarian perspective is then expanded to include insights from behavioural economics showing among other things how the economy in general, and companies in particular, can deal with the issue of “mortal sins”. After all, one common accusation is that the business world does very well out of our vices, exploiting gluttony, for instance, which manifests itself in such things as consumer frenzy, fast fashion and binge drinking; or envy, which can be a spur to success in competition. How can the motives underlying the deadly sins be transformed and channelled to ensure positive consequences for everyone and prevent them harming society? How can, indeed must, economic theory be adapted and developed with input from behavioural economics to make even less-than-rational behaviour explicable? What can companies do to turn these “sins” into something ultimately positive? Answers to these questions can be found in this IW Analysis.

 

 

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Interpretations and Recommendations from Behavioral Economics
Dominik H. Enste / Johanna Kary IW-Analyse No. 141 21. January 2021

Dominik H. Enste / Johanna Kary: Die sieben Todsünden – Verhaltensökonomische Interpretationen und Handlungsempfehlungen

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Understanding conspiracy myths better – Backgrounds and countermeasure
Dominik Enste / Johanna Kary IW-Policy Paper No. 11 29. May 2021

Understanding conspiracy myths better – Backgrounds and countermeasure

The analysis deals with the current developments of conspiracy theories at the time of the Corona pandemic.

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Dominik Enste / Sarah-Nell Altenhöner IW-Report No. 7 8. March 2021

Behavioral Economics and Leadership: How to Bridge the Gap Between Intentions and Behavior

The difference between existing intentions and actual behavior occurs in various forms, such as procrastination or companies not being able to implement planned changes, which may lead to competitive disadvantages in ever dynamic business environments.

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