Prosecutors, massive fines and moral hazard

[This essay was originally posted on the Conflict of Interest Blog.]

Many years ago, I lived next door to a young police officer and his family who, while presumably paid a modest salary, drove a pretty expensive car.   He was able to do this, I learned, because his department seized autos (and other property) of various suspected offenders and then let its officers drive the vehicles for their personal use.  Although he seemed in every respect like an honorable young man, the impact that this practice could have – and also appear to have – on law enforcement decisions left me feeling uneasy.

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The Slippery Slope to Habitual Unethical Behavior and How to Prevent It

Ethical Systems collaborator Francesca Gino has a piece in the Harvard Business Review on how unethical behavior becomes habit.  It turns out that people are much more likely to engage in unethical behavior when it occurs bit by bit, slowly over time, rather than in one large, decisive unethical decision.  However, as Gino writes, "Our research similarly indicates that ethical nudges can help people avoid the types of indiscretions that might start them down the slippery slope." 

Click here for the full article on HBR and here for more research and some ideas to apply on how to reduce cheating and increase honesty. 

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New proof that good ethics is good business

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Three Stories about the Ethics of Capitalism

[Cross posted from RighteousMind.com. Ethical Systems design is a way to make the 3rd story about capitalism come true]

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#EthSys Insights 6: Jeffrey Kaplan

#EthSys Insights is a video series where we have experts answer questions about ethical systems design.

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Week That Was in Ethical Systems, 5/12/14-5/25/14

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#EthSys Insights 5: Barry Schwartz

#EthSys Insights is a video series where we have experts answer questions about ethical systems design.

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Report: Compliance Program Effectiveness Index

Culture and ethics advisory firm LRN has released its annual report on compliance program effectiveness, correlating a measure it calls PEI with observed outcomes over the last three years.

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Week That Was in Ethical Systems, 5/5/14-5/11/14

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Five Key Features of a Good Ethics and Compliance Program

There's a lot of momentum in the corporate world for creating real and effective ethics and compliance programs (spurred on by the incentives in laws such as the Federal Sentencing Guidelines).

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