HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, HBS


hould a Catholic hospital abort a life-threatening pregnancy or let a pregnant woman die? Should a religious employer allow his employees access to contraceptives or break with healthcare legislation? People and organizations of faith often face moral decisions that have significant consequences. Research in psychology found that religion is typically associated with deontological judgment. Yet deontology consists of many principles, which may, at times, conflict. In three studies, we design a conflict between moral principles and find that the relationship between moral judgment and religiosity is more nuanced than currently assumed. Studies 1 and 2 show that, while religious US Christians and Israeli Jews are more likely to form deontological judgments, they divide between the deontological principles of inaction and indirectness.


Barak-Corren, Netta, and Max Bazerman. "Is Saving Lives Your Task or God’s? Religiosity, Belief in God, and Moral Judgment." Judgment and Decision Making 12.3 (May 2017): 280-296.