Mean markets or kind commerce?

Martin Dufwenberg, Olof Johansson-Stenman, Michael Kirchler, Florian Lindner, Rene Schwaiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Does market interaction influence morality? We study a particular angle of this classic question theoretically and experimentally. The novelty of our approach is to posit that people are motivated by reciprocity – an urge many argue affects humans. While many have suggested that market interactions make people more selfish, our reciprocity-based theory allows that market interaction on the contrary induces more prosociality. Our experiment provides a test of the empirical relevance of such an effect, in some highly stylized settings. The results are broadly (but not completely) supportive. They may shed light on the development of morality and prosocial behavior over time, with respect to episodes in history where the nature of commerce was transformed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104648
JournalJournal of Public Economics
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Autarky
  • Barter
  • Kindness
  • Markets
  • Money
  • Morality
  • Prosociality
  • Reciprocity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Mean markets or kind commerce?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this