We study the regulation of a morally responsible agent in the context of a negative consumption externality and motivation crowding. In particular, we analyze how various governmental interventions affect the agent's motivation to assume moral responsibility. Employing a motivation-crowding model, we find that morally motivated behavior will, in general, not ensure Pareto efficiency without intervention. A Pigouvian tax may be efficient under motivation crowding. But the efficient taxe rate needs to be higher, which may lead to a full crowding-out of moral motivation. By contrast, an inefficiently low taxe rate may increase the market failure due to motivation crowding. Provision of information is efficient only in very specific cases but may be effective in reducing the extent of market failure. A complementary tax-and-information policy approach is superior to a tax as single instrument if its aim is to reduce consumption and if provision of information raises moral motivation.
Altruism externality moral motivation motivation crowding Pareto efficiency regulation responsibility taxes provision of information