New Publication – Social Class and (Un)Ethical Behaviour: Causal and Correlational Evidence

New Publication: “Social Class and (Un)Ethical Behaviour: Causal and Correlational Evidence” by Galina Zudenkova, together with Elisabeth Gsottbauer (University of Innsbruck), Daniel Müller (University of Munich)Samuel Müller (University of Mannheim)Stefan T. Trautmann (University of Heidelberg) has been published in The Economic Journal.


Are individuals of higher socio-economic status less ethical than those of lower status? Highly popularised research findings claim that this is the case. This paper provides evidence against this claim, based on data from two large survey experiments with more than 11,000 participants. We prime social status in two heterogeneous samples of the German population and then elicit ethical behaviour in an incentivised experimental task. Thus, our data allows us to study both correlation (using demographic data) and causality (using the priming). Our study rejects the claim that higher social status individuals are less ethical on both accounts.