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Promoting justice by treating people unequally: an experimental study

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  • Alice Becker

    ()

  • Luis Miller

    ()

Abstract

Which inequalities among individuals are considered unjust? This paper reports the results of an experiment designed to study distributive choices dealing with arbitrarily unequal initial endowments. In a three-person distribution problem where subjects either know or do not know their endowments, we ï¬nd impartial behavior to be a stable pattern. Subjects either compensate for initial inequalities fully or not at all in both conditions, and they do so more often when they do not know their endowment than when they know it. Moreover, the type and the size of the good to be distributed also affect the frequency of impartial behavior.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10683-009-9222-z
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.

Volume (Year): 12 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 437-449

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Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:12:y:2009:i:4:p:437-449

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102888

Related research

Keywords: Veil of ignorance; Impartial behavior; Distributive justice; Procedural fairness; C72; C92;

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References

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  1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 511, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Todd L. Cherry & Peter Frykblom & Jason F. Shogren, 2002. "Hardnose the Dictator," Working Papers 02-06, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  3. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Norman Frohlich & Joe Oppenheimer & Anja Kurki, 2004. "Modeling Other-Regarding Preferences and an Experimental Test," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 91-117, 04.
  5. Edi Karni & Tim Salmon & Barry Sopher, 2008. "Individual sense of fairness: an experimental study," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 174-189, June.
  6. James Konow, 2003. "Which Is the Fairest One of All? A Positive Analysis of Justice Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1188-1239, December.
  7. Steven R. Beckman & Buhong Zheng & John P. Formby & W. James Smith, 2002. "Envy, malice and Pareto efficiency: An experimental examination," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 349-367.
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Cited by:
  1. Luis Miller & Paloma Ubeda, 2010. "Are Women More Sensitive to the Decision-Making Context?," Discussion Papers 2010004, University of Oxford, Nuffield College.
  2. Alice Becker, 2011. "Accountability and the fairness bias in the context of joint production: Effects of bonuses and opportunities," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-004, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  3. Alice Becker, 2013. "Accountability and the fairness bias: the effects of effort vs. luck," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 685-699, September.
  4. Charlotte Klempt, 2012. "The Impact of Random Help on the Dynamics of Indirect Reciprocity," IAW Discussion Papers 88, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
  5. Grimalda, Gianluca & Kar, Anirban & Proto, Eugenio, 2012. "Everyone Wants a Chance : Initial Positions and Fairness in Ultimatum Games," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 989, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  6. repec:cge:warwcg:92 is not listed on IDEAS

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