Is the positional bias an artefact? Distinguishing positional concerns from egalitarian concerns
AbstractThis paper shows that the positional bias underscored by Solnick and Hemenway (1998, 2005, 2007) is an experimental artifact. Quoted authors highlighted the importance of positional concerns by finding that people prefer to earn a fewer absolute amount of income but to earn a higher income than others. Why do people prefer to earn more than others? The proposed explanation is that people have a preference for status. This conclusion might be wrong due to their particular design. We conjecture that subjects, by indicating to prefer a state of the world in which they earn more than others, in reality signal a preference for equality. We replicated the same design as in Solnick and Hemenway (1998, 2005, 2007) and added a new option so as to disentangle positional concerns from egalitarian ones. We observe that most subjects express egalitarian preferences rather than positional ones.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).
Volume (Year): 41 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175
Relative standing; Positional concern; Egalitarian concern; Envy; Status; Survey;
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