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How do economists differ from others in distributive situations?

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  • Astri Drange Hole

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    Abstract

    There are mainly two conjectures on why economists may behave differently than others in distributive situations: the selection hypothesis and the learning hypothesis. In this paper the “Are economists different?” question is addressed. Potential differences in three dimensions are studied: the weight people attach to fairness considerations, the prevalence of fairness ideals, and how people react to communication about fairness. A dictatorship game experiment with a production phase and a communication phase is run with first-year economics and engineering students. This experimental design is particularly suited for examining differences in all three dimensions. To the best of the author’s knowledge, no previous experimental study has been able to address this question as comprehensively as the current analysis.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Siena in its series Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena with number 023.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:usi:labsit:023

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    Keywords: experiment;

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    1. Alexander W. Cappelen & Astri D. Hole & Erik Ø. Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2005. "The Pluralism of Fairness Ideals: An Experimental Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 1611, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Bruno Frey & Stephan Meier, 2005. "Selfish and Indoctrinated Economists?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 165-171, April.
    3. Bruno Frey & Stephan Meier, 2003. "Are political economists selfish and indoctrinated? Evidence from a natural experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00242, The Field Experiments Website.
    4. 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.
    5. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    6. Anthony M. Yezer & Robert S. Goldfarb & Paul J. Poppen, 1996. "Does Studying Economics Discourage Cooperation? Watch What We Do, Not What We Say or How We Play," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 177-186, Winter.
    7. Richard O. Beil & David N. Laband, 1996. "The American Economic Association Dues Structure," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 179-186, Fall.
    8. Fehr, Ernst & Naef, Michael & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2005. "The Role of Equality and Efficiency in Social Preferences," CEPR Discussion Papers 5368, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Konow, James, 1996. "A positive theory of economic fairness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 13-35, October.
    10. John R. Carter & Michael D. Irons, 1991. "Are Economists Different, and If So, Why?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 171-177, Spring.
    11. Frank, Bjorn & Schulze, Gunther G., 2000. "Does economics make citizens corrupt?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 101-113, September.
    12. Robert H. Frank & Thomas Gilovich & Dennis T. Regan, 1993. "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 159-171, Spring.
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