v9n3: Reese and Pies on Price Gouging By EmployeesPosted: May 14, 2021
What About Price Gouging By Employees?, by Alexander P Reese and Ingo Pies
A COMMENTARY, IN THE BUSINESS ETHICS IN TIMES OF PANDEMIC VIRTUAL SYMPOSIUM
The Covid-19 pandemic reveals a new phenomenon, unaddressed by the existing literature on “price gouging” in times of emergency. While merchants – getting large(r) remuneration for providing desperately needed goods – evoke public moral outrage for assumed “price gouging”, employees – getting large(r) remuneration for providing desperately needed services – do not cause such outrage but rather experience moral appraisal for their valuable commitment. To address this inherent inconsistency of moral judgment, we propose to embrace insights from research on folk economics. By understanding the folk perception underlying public outrage at “price gougers,” business ethics might better enlighten the moral (il-)legitimacy of anti-“price gouging” measures.
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Alexander Reese is a doctoral candidate in Economic Ethics at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, and currently a visiting PhD at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.
Ingo Pies is Professor of Economic Ethics at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.