Expected utility, self-control, morality, and criminal probability

Charles R. Tittle, Olena Antonaccio, Ekaterina Botchkovar, Maria Kranidioti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


With data from random sample household surveys conducted simultaneously in major cities in Greece and in Russia, we evaluate the import of individuals' morality relative to expected utility and self-control in predicting criminal probability. In addition, we examine potential interactions among the three variables in predicting criminal propensity and compare their relative effects across the two samples. The results suggest that all three factors are important and mostly independent influences in explaining criminal probability. However, the estimated effects of morality are substantially stronger than those of either expected utility or self-control, and all three of these explanatory variables appear to be somewhat sensitive to cultural contexts. Overall, our findings confirm that morality plays a comparatively larger part in explaining conformity than is generally recognized by major contemporary theories, although the data cannot show whether morality is an element in rational decision making or represents a contrary "non-rational" element in accounting for human conduct.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1029-1046
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010


  • Greece
  • Morality
  • Rational choice theory
  • Russia
  • Self-control theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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