Students who bought at a "green" store were more likely to cheat and steal than students who bought at a "conventional" store according to a careful study (PDF) performed by University of Toronto psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong and published this month in the journal Psychological Science. In their study, student volunteers were assigned to make a purchase at one of two stores. Those who purchased at the store selling primarily "green" products were more likely to cheat on a subsequent game and more likely to steal money from an envelope containing cash than those who purchased at the store selling "conventional" products.
Curiously, the opposite was found for students who were merely exposed to "green" vs. "conventional" products but were not asked to make purchases.
Mazar and Zhong conclude:
Although mere exposure to green products can have a positive societal effect by inducing prosocial and ethical acts, purchasing green products may license indulgence in self-interested and unethical behaviors.In other words, people seem to think that buying "green" products seems to make up for other transgressions they commit. In the Catholic Church, the analogous concept is "plenary indulgence."
More discussion of this study can be found at DailyCaller and the (IK) Guardian. Hat tip: Instapundit.
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