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Free Market Ideology and Corporate Injustice

Peter Kardos, Bernhard Leidner, Laszlo Zsolnai and Emanuele Castano published a paper entitled “The Effect of the Belief in Free Market Ideology on Redressing Corporate Injustice” in the European Journal of Social Psychology (2016,

The paper starts with the observation that many people in Western countries subscribe to the free market ideology (FMI) which claims that institutional oversight of the market is unnecessary because public reactions can force corporations to regulate their own behavior. The question then becomes how people’s belief in FMI affects their reactions to corporate transgressions. Given its ingroup-centered values, the authors hypothesized that FMI beliefs would bias reactions to corporate transgressions.

The paper reports on the results of a pilot study showing that FMI beliefs are predicted by selfishness, tradition, conformity, and a lack of universalism. Then the authors report on three experiments which show thatstronger pro-FMI beliefs predict weaker demand for the redress of corporate injustices committed by ingroup (but not outgroup) corporations, especially when the victims of corporate wrongdoings belong to an outgroup rather than an ingroup. The findings inform our conceptual understanding of FMI and provide new insights about its implications for market justice.

The full paper can be seen here