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The Consistency of Fairness Rules: An Experimental Study

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  • Paloma Ubeda

    ()
    (LINEEX, ERI-CESS, University of Valencia)

Abstract

In the last two decades, experimental papers on distributive justice have abounded. Two main results have been replicated. Firstly, there is a multiplicity of fairness rules. Secondly, fairness decisions differ depending on the context. This paper studies individual consistency in the use of fairness rules, as well as the structural factors that lead people to be inconsistent. We use a within-subject design, which allows us to compare individual behavior when the context changes. In line with the literature, we find a multiplicity of fairness rules. However, when we control for consistency, the set of fairness rules is considerably smaller. Only selfishness and strict egalitarianism seem to survive the stricter requirement of consistency. We observe that this result is mainly explained by a self-serving bias. Participants select the rule that is individually optimal in each situation.

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File URL: http://cess-wb.nuff.ox.ac.uk/documents/DP2010/CESS_DP2010_005.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Nuffield College in its series Discussion Papers with number 2010005.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cex:dpaper:2010005

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Related research

Keywords: Distributive Justice; Fairness; Laboratory Experiments; Self-serving bias; Consistency;

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  1. Konow, James, 1996. "A positive theory of economic fairness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 13-35, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Ismael Rodriguez-Lara & Luis Moreno-Garrido, 2012. "Modeling Inequity Aversion in a Dictator Game with Production," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(4), pages 138-149, October.
  2. Luis Miller & Paloma Ubeda, 2010. "Are Women More Sensitive to the Decision-Making Context?," Discussion Papers 2010004, University of Oxford, Nuffield College.
  3. Pedro Rey-Biel & Roman M. Sheremeta & Neslihan Uler, 2011. "(Bad) Luck or (Lack of) Effort?: Comparing Social Sharing Norms between US and Europe," Working Papers 11-11, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.

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