Sanctions and moral judgments: The moderating effect of sanction severity and trust in authorities

Peter Verboon, Laetitia Mulder, David de Cremer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    In order to induce people to follow rules, sanctions are often introduced. In this paper we argue for the importance of studying the positive influence of sanctioning systems on people’s moral convictions regarding the rule advocated by the sanction and of studying factors that moderate this influence. In three experiments we tested the influence of sanction severity and showed that severe sanctions evoke stronger moral judgments with regard to rule-breaking behavior and stronger social disapproval towards rule-breakers than mild sanctions. This was particularly the case when trust in authorities is high rather than low. Implications of these findings are discussed. Also, a framework is proposed to understand the possible circumstances that determine whether sanctions either increase or decrease moral norms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)255-269
    Number of pages15
    JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
    Volume39
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2009

    Keywords

    • Sanction Severity
    • Trust
    • Moral judgments

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'Sanctions and moral judgments: The moderating effect of sanction severity and trust in authorities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this