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Inequality and Relative Ability Beliefs

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  • Jeffrey V. Butler

    (EIEF)

Abstract

In this study I present experimental evidence of a novel channel yielding inequality persistence. In an initial experiment, results suggest that individuals respond to salient inequality by adjusting their performance beliefs to justify the inequality. Subsequent experiments reveal: i) that it is beliefs about relative ability, an ostensibly stable trait, rather than effort provision that respond to inequality; and that ii) unequal pay in an initial task affects willingness to compete on a subsequent task for male participants. Taken together, these patterns may cause inequality to become self-perpetuating. I conclude by discussing some implications of these findings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) in its series EIEF Working Papers Series with number 1305.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision: Mar 2013
Handle: RePEc:eie:wpaper:1305

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  1. Caroline M. Hoxby & Christopher Avery, 2012. "The Missing "One-Offs": The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low Income Students," NBER Working Papers 18586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Uri Gneezy & Kenneth L. Leonard & John A. List, 2008. "Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence from a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," NBER Working Papers 13727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Grossman, Zachary & Owens, David, 2012. "An unlucky feeling: Overconfidence and noisy feedback," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 510-524.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Entrenching inequality
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-04-04 14:11:33
  2. On endogenous preferences
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-05-06 12:51:02

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