Omission effects in trolley problems with economic outcomes
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
This paper tests how ethical views and hypothetical choices in a trolley problem with economic outcomes depend on whether an outcome is the result of an action or an omission. In a vignette experiment, subjects read about a spectator that harms one person in order to save five others from harm either by taking an action or by omission, whereas the outcomes are either death or loss of property. The results show that the distinction between harmful actions and harmful omissions is significantly smaller in the economic domain, suggesting that omission effects in trolley problems are domain-specific. A comparison of moral views about harmful actions across outcome domains shows that this difference is driven by subjects being more outcome-focused when property rather than lives are at stake.
Research subject Economics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122026OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-122026DiVA: diva2:862200