An Egalitarian Regime Breeds Generosity: The Effect of Endowment Allocation Procedures on Social Preferences
AbstractWe experimentally investigate the effect of endowment allocation procedures on social preferences using a two-stage dictator game. In the first stage, participants who were randomly selected as allocators had to perform a task in order to earn money. Better performance on the task resulted in higher earnings. In our baseline meritocratic treatment, the allocators' initial endowment was set equal to their individual earnings. We compared this with an egalitarian treatment whereby the allocators' initial endowment was set equal to the average earnings of all allocators. Essentially, high performers were taxed and under performers were subsidized by the high performers. In the second stage, the allocators had to divide their endowment with the recipients. We show that the allocators were more generous in the egalitarian treatment than in the meritocratic treatment. Interestingly, being taxed did not reduce the high performers' generosity but being subsidized did significantly increase the under performers' generosity. Thus, being treated kindly induced the under performers to reciprocate forward to other people.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 21727.
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Other-regarding Behavior; Dictator Game; Endowment Allocation Procedures; Meritocratic; Egalitarian; Forward Reciprocity;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-04-04 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2010-04-04 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2010-04-04 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-MIC-2010-04-04 (Microeconomics)
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