Entries by Jeffrey Kaplan

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ESG and the Risk of Moral Licensing

We are entering an era of unprecedented Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) imperatives, which will hopefully be beneficial to millions of people in many ways. But those involved in ESG efforts (and others who “do good”) must also be aware of the dangers of “moral licensing.” Moral licensing, according to a 2019 Frontiers in Psychology paper, […]

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A 30-Year Experiment in Ethics and Compliance

In his 2008 book Experiments in Ethics, the philosopher Anthony Appiah made a strong and important case that behavioral science ideas and information should be used to address ethical challenges. But for me the most compelling ethics-related experiment of modern times comes from the realm of political—rather than behavioral—science: the experiment that began in 1991, with […]

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Include Moral Hazards in Your Company’s Risk Assessment

Notwithstanding its name, the concept of moral hazard originally had little to do with morality. Rather, it referred to the phenomenon that providing insurance tended to promote risky behavior by insured parties. Subsequently, moral hazard has been applied to a wide range of circumstances where incentives encourage unduly risky conduct by shifting the impact of […]

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A Behavioral Ethics and Compliance Primer

In 1991, when the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations went into effect, Compliance and Ethics (“C&E”) programs became a part of the business landscape in the United States. There was, at the time, a fairly widespread view among business leaders, and even some enforcement officials, that C&E programs were largely unnecessary: Good people, it was […]

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Do Honesty Pledges Work?

Honesty pledges often sound like a good idea, but whether they are in any given situation depends on various factors. Just ask Jim Comey. In a recent paper, Eyal Pe’er, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Yuval Feldman, at Bar-Ilan University, take up the topic of honesty pledges. In their study, Pe’er and Feldman explored how pledges […]

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Do Compliance Officers Have an Inherent Conflict of Interest?

Should compliance be subordinated to legal, rather than separated from it? Yes, argues Sean J. Griffith, of the Fordham University School of Law, in a recent paper, titled “Agency, Authority, and Compliance.” This is an interesting and unusual perspective and one that I am not unsympathetic to. The abstract states: Compliance officers owe their professional existence […]