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Is the veil of ignorance only a concept about risk? An experiment

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  • Hörisch, Hannah

Abstract

We implement the Rawlsian veil of ignorance in the laboratory. Our experimental design allows separating the effects of risk and social preferences behind the veil of ignorance. Subjects prefer more equal distributions behind than in front of the veil of ignorance, but only a minority acts according to maximin preferences. Men prefer more equal allocations mostly for insurance purposes, women also due to social preferences for equality. Our results contrast the Utilitarian's claim that behind the veil of ignorance maximin preferences necessarily imply infinite risk aversion. They are compatible with any degree of risk aversion as long as social preferences for equality are sufficiently strong.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 230.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:230

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Keywords: law and economics; incentives; crowding out; experiment;

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. What distribution principle would you choose behind a veil of ignorance?
    by Winton Bates in Freedom and Flourishing on 2010-10-11 05:02:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Riedl A.M. & Cettolin E., 2013. "Justice under uncertainty," Research Memorandum 036, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
  2. 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," Econometica Working Papers wp31, Econometica.
  3. Francesco Farina & Gianluca Grimalda, 2011. "A cross-country experimental comparison of preferences for redistribution," Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID) University of Siena 0211, Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID), University of Siena.
  4. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00469112 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Becchetti, Leonardo & Degli Antoni, Giacomo & Ottone, Stefania & Solferino, Nazaria, 2013. "Allocation criteria under task performance: The gendered preference for protection," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 96-111.
  6. John Bone & Paolo Crosetto & John D Hey & Carmen Pasca, 2013. "Chance versus choice: eliciting attitudes to fair compensations," Discussion Papers 13/15, Department of Economics, University of York.
  7. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00593973 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Kesternich, Iris & Schumacher, Heiner & Winter, Joachim, 2014. "Professional norms and physician behavior: homo oeconomicus or homo hippocraticus?," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 456, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  9. Bolle, Friedel & Liepmann, Hannah & Vogel, Claudia, 2012. "How much social insurance do you want? An experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1170-1181.

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