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Efficiency-Equality Trade-off within French and German Couples A Comparative Experimental Study


  • Miriam Beblo
  • Denis Beninger
  • François Cochard
  • Hélène Couprie
  • Astrid Hopfensitz


We present the results of an experiment measuring social preferences within couples in a context where intra-household pay-off inequality can be reduced at the cost of diminishing household income. We measure social norms regarding this efficiency-equality trade-off by reported beliefs on the behavior of peers, and we implement a cross-country comparison between France and Germany. In particular, we show that German households are more income inequality averse and thus less income-maximizing than French households. Decomposition reveals that diverging sample compositions in the two countries drive less than half of the difference, while over half of the initial French/German difference remains unexplained. Beliefs differ significantly from observed behavior in both countries. Income-maximizing choices are overestimated in the German sample and underestimated in the French.

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  • Miriam Beblo & Denis Beninger & François Cochard & Hélène Couprie & Astrid Hopfensitz, 2015. "Efficiency-Equality Trade-off within French and German Couples A Comparative Experimental Study," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 117-118, pages 233-252.
  • Handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2015:i:117-118:p:233-252
    DOI: 10.15609/annaeconstat2009.117-118.233

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    Cited by:

    1. Hélène Couprie & Elisabeth Cudeville & Catherine Sofer, 2020. "Efficiency versus gender roles and stereotypes: an experiment in domestic production," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(1), pages 181-211, March.
    2. François Cochard & Hélène Couprie & Astrid Hopfensitz, 2018. "What if women earned more than their spouses? An experimental investigation of work-division in couples," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(1), pages 50-71, March.
    3. Beblo, Miriam & Beninger, Denis, 2014. "Experimental Evidence on Bargaining Power Within Couples," VfS Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100628, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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