Order Ethics: An Experimental Perspective

Hannes Rusch, Matthias Uhl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


In this chapter, we present supporting arguments for the claim that order ethics is a school of thought within ethics which is especially open to empirical evidence. With its focus on order frameworks, i.e., incentive structures, order ethical advice automatically raises questions on implementability, efficacy, and efficiency of such recommended institutions, all of which are empirical questions to a good extent. We illustrate our arguments by presenting a small selection of experiments from economics that we consider highly informative for order ethics. These experiments vary in their details but share one common theme: individual decision-making and its aggregate results are tested against the background of incentive structures. In particular, these studies provide first insights on how unregulated markets influence moral behaviour over time, how trial-and-error experiences convince subjects to migrate to more efficient institutions , and how default rules can influence fundamental choices of people. We argue that order ethics, for which implementability of any moral claim is an essential requirement, can largely benefit from the use of such experimental methods. Finally, we suggest the provision of self-commitment devices as one example of smart policy design that avoids paternalistic intrusions into individual liberty.keywordsincentive structuremoral standardsocial dilemmapublic good gamedefault rulethese keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrder Ethics: An Ethical Framework for the Social Market Economy
EditorsChristoph Lütge, Nikil Mukerji
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-33151-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-33149-2
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Cite this