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An Experimental Test of Preferences for the Distribution of Income and Individual Risk Aversion

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Author Info

  • John H. Beck

    (Gonzaga University)

Abstract

This study investigates the question of how much income redistribution individuals desire in a society with random differences in individual incomes. The experiments confronted individuals with choices of lotteries determining their own payoffs--to measure individual risk aversion--and with choices of lotteries determining payoffs to everyone in the group--to measure preferences regarding the distribution of income. The subjects were risk averse, but they did not display the extreme risk aversion implied by a Rawlsian maximin rule. The experiments produced little evidence that individuals favor a more equal income distribution than can be explained by individual risk aversion.

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File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume20/V20N2P131_145.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 20 (1994)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 131-145

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Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:20:y:1994:i:2:p:131-145

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Postal: c/o Dr. Alexandre Olbrecht, The Anisfield School of Business 205, Ramapo College, 505 Ramapo Valley Road, Ramapo, New Jersey 07430, USA
Phone: (201) 684-7346
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Web page: http://www.ramapo.edu/eea/journal.html
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Related research

Keywords: Distribution; Income; Redistribution;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Neustadt, Ilja & Zweifel, Peter, 2011. "Income redistribution: how to divide the pie?," MPRA Paper 35427, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Pfarr, Christian & Ulrich, Volker, 2011. "Discrete-Choice-Experimente zur Ermittlung der Präferenzen für Umverteilung
    [Discrete-Choice-Experiments to elicit individuals' preferences for redistribution]
    ," MPRA Paper 31707, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Leonardo Becchetti & Stefano Castriota & Pierluigi Conzo, 2012. "Calamity, Aid and Indirect Reciprocity: the Long Run Impact of Tsunami on Altruism," CSEF Working Papers 316, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  4. Ilja Neustadt & Peter Zweifel, 2010. "Is the Welfare State Sustainable? Experimental Evidence on Citizens' Preferences for Redistribution," CESifo Working Paper Series 3148, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Roland Vaubel, 2012. "Redistribution as income insurance?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 152(3), pages 389-392, September.
  6. Steffen Andersen & Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & E. Rutström, 2009. "Elicitation using multiple price list formats," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 365-366, September.
  7. Rutstrom, E. Elisabet & Williams, Melonie B., 2000. "Entitlements and fairness:: an experimental study of distributive preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 75-89, September.
  8. Thomas Hammerschmidt & Hans-Peter Zeitler & Reiner Leidl, 2004. "A utility-theoretic approach to the aggregation of willingness to pay measured in decomposed scenarios: development and empirical test," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 345-361.

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