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The Moral Foundation of Economic Behavior$
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David C. Rose

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199781744

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199781744.001.0001

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(p.3) Chapter 1 Introduction
The Moral Foundation of Economic Behavior

David C. Rose

Oxford University Press

This chapter outlines the book’s unusual approach. Rather than compare characteristics of moral beliefs to levels of economic performance across societies, it undertakes a thought experiment launched by the following question: If a society’s sole objective is to maximize general prosperity, and it can choose its own moral beliefs, what kinds of moral beliefs would it choose? It briefly discusses how such beliefs provide a moral foundation for economic behavior. It connects moral beliefs to economic behavior through trust behaviour, and reviews evidence on the relationship between trust and economic performance. It reviews some of the major issues covered in the book including genuine trust, group size, and the role of culture. In then provides an overview of the central arguments.

Keywords:   economic development, economic performance, genuine trust, group size, moral beliefs, trust

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