Would you kill a mouse for money? Many people would. But as it turns out, the likelihood that people would do so increases sharply when they confront that choice in the context of a marketplace. “Markets erode moral behavior,” says Nora Szech, an economist at the University of Bamberg.

In an experiment conducted by Szech and her co-author, Armin Falk, student participants first viewed a photo of a mouse. Then they watched a video of a mouse dying in a gas chamber. Next they were asked if...

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