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Friedman, Harsanyi, Rawls, Boulding - or Somebody Else?

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  • Traub, Stefan
  • Seidl, Christian
  • Schmidt, Ulrich
  • Levati, Maria Vittoria

Abstract

This paper investigates distributive justice using a fourfold experimental design : The ignorance and the risk scenarios are combined with the self-concern and the umpire modes. We study behavioral switches between self-concern and umpire mode and investigate the goodness of ten standards of behavior. In the ignorance scenario, subjects became on average less inequality averse as umpires. A within-subjects analysis shows that about one half became less inequality averse, one quarter became more inequality averse and one quarter left its behavior unchanged as umpires. In the risk scenario, subjects become on average more inequality averse in their umpire roles. A within-subjects analysis shows that half of them became more inequality averse, one quarter became less inequality averse, and one quarter left its behavior unchanged as umpires. As to the standards of behavior, several prominent ones (leximin, leximax, Gini, Cobb-Douglas) experienced but poor support, while expected utility, Boulding's hypothesis, the entropy social welfare function, and randomization preference enjoyed impressive acceptance. For the risk scenario, the tax standard of behavior joins the favorite standards of behavior. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics in its series Economics Working Papers with number 2003,03.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:cauewp:785

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Keywords: Distributive justice; income distributions; veil of ignorance;

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References

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  1. Birnbaum, Michael H. & Chavez, Alfredo, 1997. "Tests of Theories of Decision Making: Violations of Branch Independence and Distribution Independence," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 161-194, August.
  2. Robert H. Strotz, 1961. "How Income Ought To Be Distributed: Paradox Regained," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 271.
  3. Frank Cowell & Emmanuel Flachaire, 2002. "Sensitivity of inequality measures to extreme values," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2213, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Cowell, F A, 1985. "'A Fair Suck of the Sauce Bottle' or What Do You Mean by Inequality?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 61(173), pages 567-79, June.
  5. Norman Frohlich & Joe Oppenheimer, 1994. "Preferences for Income Distribution and Distributive Justice: A Window on the Problems of Using Experimental Data in Economics and Ethics," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 147-155, Spring.
  6. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1978. "Measures of relative equality and their meaning in terms of social welfare," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 59-80, June.
  7. Frank Cowell, 2006. "Inequality: measurement," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2686, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Epstein, Larry G & Segal, Uzi, 1992. "Quadratic Social Welfare Functions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 691-712, August.
  9. Kanbur, S M, 1979. "Of Risk Taking and the Personal Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 769-97, August.
  10. Kofler, Eduard & Zweifel, Peter, 1988. "Exploiting linear partial information for optimal use of forecasts : With an application to U.S. economic policy," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 15-32.
  11. Shorrocks, A F, 1980. "The Class of Additively Decomposable Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 613-25, April.
  12. Konow, James, 2001. "Fair and square: the four sides of distributive justice," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 137-164, October.
  13. John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434.
  14. Schokkaert, Erik & Capeau, Bart, 1991. "Interindividual Differences in Opinions about Distributive Justice," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 325-45.
  15. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  16. Steven R. Beckman & Buhong Zheng & John P. Formby & W. James Smith, 2002. "Envy, malice and Pareto efficiency: An experimental examination," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 349-367.
  17. Gaertner, Wulf & Jungeilges, Jochen & Neck, Reinhard, 2001. "Cross-cultural equity evaluations: A questionnaire-experimental approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 953-963, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Tim Krieger & Stefan Traub, 2009. "Wie hat sich die intragenerationale Umverteilung in der staatlichen Säule des Rentensystems verändert? Ein internationaler Vergleich auf Basis von LIS-Daten," Working Papers CIE 24, University of Paderborn, CIE Center for International Economics.
  2. repec:pdn:wpaper:13 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Liang, Che-Yuan, 2013. "Optimal Inequality behind the Veil of Ignorance," Working Paper Series 2013:7, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  4. Traub, Stefan & Seidl, Christian & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2009. "An experimental study on individual choice, social welfare, and social preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 385-400, May.
  5. repec:pdn:wpaper:24 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Konow, James, 2008. "The Moral High Ground: An Experimental Study of Spectator Impartiality," MPRA Paper 18558, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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