Women and Public Policy Program Seminar Series

Gender and Moral Decision-Making wtih Jooa Julia Lee

August 21, 2014

Virtually all normative and descriptive models of moral judgment view an agent’s gender as irrelevant to judgments of moral permissibility — whether an action such as sacrificing one life to save five others is carried out by a man or a woman does not qualify its appropriateness. However, we demonstrate that people expect men to be more utilitarian, than women when resolving moral dilemmas. Accordingly, they find utilitarian behavior more appropriate when carried out by male agents. This research suggests that moral judgment is not only evaluative in scope, but also inferential. Individuals view behavior as a signal about character, and because of their prior beliefs about male and female characteristics, they arrive at different judgments when the same behavior is carried out by male and female agents. This paper discusses the organizational implications of the gender bias in moral decision-making.the new economy. Speaker: Jooa Julia Lee, WAPPP Fellow; Doctoral Candidate in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

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