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An Egalitarian Regime Breeds Generosity: The Effect of Endowment Allocation Procedures on Social Preferences

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  • Riyanto, Yohanes Eko
  • Zhang, Jianlin

Abstract

We 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 Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 21727.

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Date of creation: Jan 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:21727

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Related research

Keywords: Other-regarding Behavior; Dictator Game; Endowment Allocation Procedures; Meritocratic; Egalitarian; Forward Reciprocity;

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  1. List, John A. & Cherry, Todd L., 2008. "Examining the role of fairness in high stakes allocation decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-8, January.
  2. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. Alexander W. Cappelen & Astri Drange Hole & Erik Ø Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2007. "The Pluralism of Fairness Ideals: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 818-827, June.
  4. Todd L. Cherry & Peter Frykblom & Jason F. Shogren, 2002. "Hardnose the Dictator," Working Papers 02-06, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  5. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  6. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
  7. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
  8. John A. List, 2007. "On the Interpretation of Giving in Dictator Games," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 482-493.
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Cited by:
  1. Leonardo Becchetti & Giacomo Degli Antoni & Stefania Ottone & Nazaria Solferino, 2011. "Spectators versus stakeholders with or without veil of ignorance: The difference it makes for justice and chosen distribution criteria," Working Papers 204, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.

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