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Chance versus choice: eliciting attitudes to fair compensations

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  • John Bone
  • Paolo Crosetto
  • John D Hey
  • Carmen Pasca

Abstract

This paper reports an experiment designed to elicit social preferences over income compensation schemes, where income differences between subjects have two independent components: one due to chosen effort and the other due to random chance. These differences can be compensated through social dividends, according to principles chosen beforehand by subjects themselves from behind a stylised Rawlsian veil of ignorance, or outside the society on which the principles will be implemented. We test the attractiveness in particular of Luck Egalitarianism, compensating inequalities due to chance but not those due to choice. We find modest but not overwhelming support for these principles, suggesting that subjects’actual preferences are more complex.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 13/15.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:13/15

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Keywords: chance; choice; envy-freeness; fairness; luck; luck egalitarianism; responsibility;

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  1. Hörisch, Hannah, 2007. "Is the veil of ignorance only a concept about risk? An experiment," Discussion Papers in Economics 1362, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Fredrik Andersson & Carl Hampus Lyttkens, 1999. "Preferences for equity in health behind a veil of ignorance," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(5), pages 369-378.
  3. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2008. "Fairness, Responsibility, and Welfare," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199215911, September.
  4. John Hey & Carmen Pasca, 2011. "On choosing a constitution (at least the part relating to the distribution of income)," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(13), pages 1213-1217.
  5. Antonio Cabrales & Raffaele Miniaci & Marco Piovesan & Giovanni Ponti, 2009. "Social Preferences and Strategic Uncertainty: An Experiment on Markets and Contracts," Working Papers 2009-09, FEDEA.
  6. Magnus Johannesson & Ulf-G Gerdtham, 1995. "A pilot test of using the veil of ignorance approach to estimate a social welfare function for income," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(10), pages 400-402.
  7. F. Carlsson & G. Gupta & O. Johansson-Stenman, 2003. "Choosing from behind a veil of ignorance in India," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(13), pages 825-827.
  8. Panzer, Elisha A & Schmeidler, David, 1974. "A Difficulty in the Concept of Fairness," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(3), pages 441-43, July.
  9. Bukszar, Ed & Knetsch, Jack L, 1997. "Fragile Redistribution Choices behind a Veil of Ignorance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 63-74, January.
  10. Sutter, Matthias & Weck-Hannemann, Hannelore, 2003. " Taxation and the Veil of Ignorance--A Real Effort Experiment on the Laffer Curve," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 115(1-2), pages 217-40, April.
  11. Frignani, Nicola & Ponti, Giovanni, 2012. "Risk versus social preferences under the veil of ignorance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 143-146.
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