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The Pluralism of Fairness Ideals: An Experimental Approach

  • Alexander W. Cappelen
  • Astri Drange Hole
  • Erik Ø Sørensen
  • Bertil Tungodden

A core question in the contemporary debate on distributive justice is how to understand fairness in situations involving production. Important theories of distributive justice, such as strict egalitarianism, liberal egalitarianism, and libertarianism, provide different answers to this question. This paper presents the results from a dictator game where the distribution phase is preceded by a production phase. Each player's contribution is a result of a freely chosen investment level and an exogenously given rate of return. We estimate simultaneously the prevalence of three principles of distributive justice among the players and the distribution of the weight they attach to fairness. (JEL D63)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 97 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 818-827

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:97:y:2007:i:3:p:818-827
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.97.3.818
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  1. Todd L. Cherry & Peter Frykblom & Jason F. Shogren, 2002. "Hardnose the Dictator," Working Papers 02-06, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  2. Bellemare, Charles & Kröger, Sabine & van Soest, Arthur, 2005. "Actions and Beliefs: Estimating Distribution-Based Preferences Using a Large Scale Experiment with Probability Questions on Expectations," IZA Discussion Papers 1666, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, . "Selfish and Indoctrinated Economists?," IEW - Working Papers 103, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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  5. James Konow, 2003. "Which Is the Fairest One of All? A Positive Analysis of Justice Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1188-1239, December.
  6. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  7. Manski, Charles F., 2002. "Identification of decision rules in experiments on simple games of proposal and response," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 880-891, May.
  8. Christopher Ferrall, 2005. "Solving Finite Mixture Models: Efficient Computation in Economics Under Serial and Parallel Execution," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 25(4), pages 343-379, June.
  9. David Revelt & Kenneth Train, 1998. "Mixed Logit With Repeated Choices: Households' Choices Of Appliance Efficiency Level," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 647-657, November.
  10. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  11. Ernst R. Berndt & Bronwyn H. Hall & Robert E. Hall & Jerry A. Hausman, 1974. "Estimation and Inference in Nonlinear Structural Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 3, number 4, pages 653-665 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. Konow, James, 1996. "A positive theory of economic fairness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 13-35, October.
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