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Fairness in Public Good Provision: An Investigation of Preferences for Equality and Proportionality

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  • Jeremy Clark

Abstract

A binary public good voting mechanism is designed to test for preferences for income equality and cost/benefit proportionality. The voting design isolates preferences for equality from those for proportionality and controls for alternative external preferences such as altruism, envy, and the Rawlsian Difference Principle. Individuals choose between greater income or fairness in these demand-revealing votes. Treatments vary whether the positions of voters are earned or random, whether votes are hypothetical or real, and whether they are over gains or losses. Significant deviations from self-interested voting are observed in all treatments testing for equality and in some treatments testing for proportionality.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy Clark, 1998. "Fairness in Public Good Provision: An Investigation of Preferences for Equality and Proportionality," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(3), pages 708-729, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:31:y:1998:i:3:p:708-729
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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