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Behavioral Economics and Business Ethics

Behavioral economics shows that people act more morally than the homo economicus model suggests. People are more trustworthy and behave more fairly than many people think. Nevertheless, morality regularly comes into conflict with economic interests, but these conflicts can often be resolved with the help of business ethics.

About the topic

Entrepreneurial profit-seeking and the legitimate interests of society are not always in harmony. However, the conflicts can often be overcome in a constructive way, for example by the state intervening in a regulatory manner (regulatory ethics), by companies assuming responsibility (business ethics) and investing in trust. Or by individuals behaving more morally (individual morality). Typical topics of business ethics are: In the social market economy, the state sets the framework, e.g., for consumer protection, supply chains, and environmental protection; companies maintain their own compliance and corporate social responsibility departments. Individuals volunteer in a variety of ways in society - keyword civic engagement and strengthen social capital. Together, these ways ensure greater prosperity, growth and life satisfaction. Behavioral economics has shown in experiments, among other things, that immoral behavior such as corruption, moonlighting and white-collar crime is a form of corruption.

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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.

IW

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How to Bridge the Gap Between Intentions and Behavior
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.

IW

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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

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 ...

IW

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How to Combine Business and Ethics
Dominik Enste / Julia Wildner / Lucia Nafziger IW-Report No. 1 1. January 2021

Going Green with Behavioral Economics: How to Combine Business and Ethics

This paper calls for an increased discourse between Fridays for Future and representatives of business. Fridays for Future play a key role in educating the public and raising awareness of scientific reports, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ...

IW

Our Experts

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Dominik H. Enste

Prof. Dr. Dominik H. Enste

Head of the Research Unit Behavioral Economics and Business Ethics

Tel: +49 221 4981-730
Anna-Carina Kern

Anna-Carina Kern

Consultant at the IW Akademie

Tel: +49 221 4981-689
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Lena Suling

Lena Suling

Economic Research Consultant of the IW Akademie

Tel: +49 221 4981-816
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Julia Wildner

Julia Wildner

Economic Research Consultant of the IW Akademie

Tel: +49 221 4981-818
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Read study
Understanding conspiracy myths better – Backgrounds and countermeasure
IW-Policy Paper No. 11 29. May 2021

Understanding conspiracy myths better – Backgrounds and countermeasure

Dominik Enste / Johanna Kary

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

IW

Read study
The Impact of the Corona Pandemic Compared with Earlier Economic Crises
IW-Trends 20. April 2021

The Impact of the Corona Pandemic Compared with Earlier Economic Crises

Hubertus Bardt / Michael Grömling

The current economic crisis has become a crisis of consumption and has taken on more extreme dimensions than that caused by the global financial market upheavals of 2008/2009. In the 15 years preceding the outbreak of the Corona pandemic in Germany, private consumption grew at a rate similar to that in the 1990s.

IW

Read study
How to Bridge the Gap Between Intentions and Behavior
IW-Report No. 7 8. March 2021

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

Dominik Enste / Sarah-Nell Altenhöner

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.

IW

Read study
Interpretations and Recommendations from Behavioral Economics
IW-Analyse No. 141 21. January 2021

The Seven Deadly Sins: Interpretations and Recommendations from Behavioral Economics

Dominik H. Enste / Johanna Kary

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.

IW

Read study
How to Combine Business and Ethics
IW-Report No. 1 1. January 2021

Going Green with Behavioral Economics: How to Combine Business and Ethics

Dominik Enste / Julia Wildner / Lucia Nafziger

This paper calls for an increased discourse between Fridays for Future and representatives of business. Fridays for Future play a key role in educating the public and raising awareness of scientific reports, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment, which demonstrate the urgency with which we must tackle climate change.

IW

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