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The Role of Equality and Equity in Social Preferences

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  • Fehr, Ernst
  • Näf, Michael
  • Schmidt, Klaus M.

Abstract

Engelmann and Strobel (AER 2004) question the relevance of inequity aversion in simple dictator game experiments claiming that a combination of a preference for efficiency and a Rawlsian motive for helping the least well-off is more important than inequity aversion. We show that these results are partly based on a strong subject pool effect. The participants of the E&S experiments were undergraduate students of economics and business administration who self-selected into their field of study (economics) and learned in the first semester that efficiency is desirable. We show that for non-economists the preference for efficiency is much less pronounced. We also find a non-negligible gender effect indicating that women are more egalitarian than men. However, perhaps surprisingly, the dominance of equality over efficiency is unrelated to political attitudes.

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File URL: http://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/725/1/Fehr-Naef-Schmidt_2005-Munich_Economics.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 725.

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Date of creation: Feb 2005
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:725

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Keywords: Social Preferences; Inequity Aversion; Efficiency Preferences;

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