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What's the monetary value of distributive justice?

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  • Corneo, Giacomo
  • Fong, Christina

Abstract

This paper develops a simple theoretical model that can be implemented to estimate the willingness to pay for distributive justice. We derive a formula that allows one to recover the willingness to pay for distributive justice from the estimated coefficients of a probit regression and fiscal data. Using this formula and data from a 1998 Gallup Social Audit, we find that the monetary value of justice in the United States is about one fifth of GDP. We also generalize the model to estimate the value of justice for different types of people (e.g., Republicans, Democrats, urban dwellers, rural dwellers). We find no evidence that the value of justice varies across types of people. This is consistent with the idea that political differences between types are due to differences in the beliefs about the fairness of the market system, rather than differences in the values they place on distributive justice.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5227.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5227

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Keywords: distributive justice; fairness; governmental redistribution;

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References

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  1. John E. Roemer & Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino & Johan Fritzell & Stephen P. Jenkins & Ive Marx & Marianne Page & Evert Pommer & Javier Ruiz-Castillo & Maria Jesus San Segundo & Torben Tranaes & Gert G, 2000. "To What Extent do Fiscal Regimes Equalize Opportunities for Income Acquisition Among Citizens?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 222, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Piketty, Thomas, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-84, August.
  3. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
  4. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
  5. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2001. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1936, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-191, October.
  7. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2004. "Fairness and Redistribution," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000283, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Scholarly Articles 4552533, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Erik Schokkaert, 1998. "Mr. Fairmind Is Post-Welfarist: Opinions on Distributive Justice," Public Economics Working Paper Series ces9809, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën, Working Group Public Economics.
  10. Ernst Fehr & Klaus Schmidt, 2000. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity – Evidence and Economic Applications," CESifo Working Paper Series 403, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Thurow, Lester C, 1971. "The Income Distribution as a Pure Public Good," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 327-36, May.
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