Are there practical reasons to be good? Consider the “functional role” of working on your “positive moral identity”:
Apparently considering outcomes instead of principles spurs pragmatic trade-offs, in this case between one’s virtue and one’s self-interest: one for you, one for me. But subjects who recalled behavior that did or didn’t adhere to an ethical principle showed moral consistency.
Consistency may be most likely when the initial act is somehow costly and thus indicative of commitment, according to a paper published recently in the journal Management Science by Ayelet Gneezy of the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues.