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Licensing/Self-licensing Effect

Definition 1

Higher likelihood of selecting a choice option considered “bad” or immoral, after selecting an option considered “good” or moral.

Source: Behavioral Science Lab, 2017

Definition 2

Also known as ‘self-licensing’ or ‘moral licensing’, the licensing effect is evident when people allow themselves to do something bad (e.g. immoral) after doing something good (e.g. moral) first (Merritt et al., 2010). The effect of licencing has been studied for different behavioral outcomes, including donations, cooperation, racial discrimination, and cheating (Blanken et al., 2015).

Source: Behavioral Economics

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