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Whose impartiality? An experimental study of veiled stakeholders, impartial spectators and ideal observers

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Author Info

  • Fernando Aguiar

    ()
    (Spanish Council for Scientific Research (IESA-CSIC))

  • Alice Becker

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute for Economics, Jena)

  • Luis Miller

    (Nuffield Centre for Experimental Social Sciences, University of Oxford)

Abstract

This article defines in a precise manner three different mechanisms to achieve impartiality in distributive justice and studies them experimentally. We consider a first-person procedure, the Rawlsian veil of ignorance, and two third-party procedures, the impartial spectator and the ideal observer. As a result, we find striking differences in the chosen outcome distributions by the three methods. Ideal observers that do not have a stake in the allocation problem nor information about their position in society propose significantly more egalitarian distributions than veiled stakeholders or impartial spectators. Risk preferences seem to explain why participants that have a stake in the final allocation propose less egalitarian distributions. Impartial spectators that are informed about their position in society tend to favor stakeholders holding the same position.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2010-040.

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Date of creation: 23 Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2010-040

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Keywords: impartiality; veil of ignorance; impartial spectator; distributive justice;

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Cited by:
  1. Elena Cettolin & Arno Riedl, 2013. "Justice under Uncertainty," CESifo Working Paper Series 4326, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Möllerström, Johanna & Reme, Bjørn-Atle & Sørensen, Erik Ø., 2014. "Luck, Choice and Responsibility. An experimental study of fairness views," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 6/2014, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.

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