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The ethical advantage

The economic and social benefits of ethics to Australia

The Ethics Centre commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to develop a framework to quantify the economic and social benefits of a more ethical Australia.

This report explores the economic case for improving ethics and ethical infrastructure in Australia. The analysis identifies a range of benefits from improving ethics:

  • Individuals would experience higher wages with a 10% improvement in regional measures of ethical behaviour associated with an increase of 2.7% to 6.6% increase in individual wages.
  • Individuals would benefit from improved physical and mental health with a 10% improvement in perceptions of ethical behaviour associated with a 1% improvement in self-reported mental health.
  • Businesses would experience better returns with a one standard deviation improvement in ethical perceptions increasing a business’s return on assets by approximately 7 per cent.
  • At the economy-wide level, if Australia was to improve ethical behaviour to world-leading standards the resulting increase in trust would be expected to increase average annual income per person by approximately $1,800, resulting in a $45 billion increase in GDP.

The report concludes by identifying five key recommendations to improve ethics in Australia:

  • Developing an Ethical Infrastructure Index
  • Elevating public discussions about ethics
  • Strengthening ethics in education
  • Embedding ethics within institutions and
  • Supporting ethics in government and the regulatory framework.

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