Even people who think of themselves as being ethical (“good people”) may engage in corrupt actions. In fact, the situations that seem least problematic can sometimes cause good people to behave immorally. Behavioral ethics research has demonstrated that various unconscious and self-deceptive mental processes promote such behavior in those individuals. To reduce the frequency of misbehavior by normally well-intentioned individuals, policymakers need to be aware that classic approaches to limiting corruption sometimes increase the likelihood that good people will engage in misconduct. Regulators also need to expand their toolbox beyond formal ethical codes and financial incentives by adding preventive interventions that are based on behavioral ethics research.


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