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Social preferences and voting on reform: An experimental study

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  • Paetzel, Fabian
  • Sausgruber, Rupert
  • Traub, Stefan

Abstract

Debating over efficiency-enhancing but inequality-increasing reforms accounts for the routine business of democratic institutions. Fernandez and Rodrik (1991) hold that anti-reform bias can be attributed to individual-specific uncertainty regarding the distribution of gains and losses resulting from a reform. In this paper, we experimentally demonstrate that anti-reform bias arising from uncertainty is mitigated by social preferences. We show that, paradoxically, many who stand to lose from reforms vote in favor because they value efficiency, while many who will potentially gain from reforms oppose them due to inequality aversion.

Suggested Citation

  • Paetzel, Fabian & Sausgruber, Rupert & Traub, Stefan, 2014. "Social preferences and voting on reform: An experimental study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 36-55.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:70:y:2014:i:c:p:36-55
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2014.03.010
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    Cited by:

    1. Urs Fischbacher & Simeon Schudy, 2014. "Reciprocity and resistance to comprehensive reform," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(3), pages 411-428, September.
    2. repec:eee:jeborg:v:147:y:2018:i:c:p:95-114 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Rudolf Kerschbamer & Daniel Muller, 2017. "Social preferences and political attitudes: An online experiment on a large heterogeneous sample," Working Papers 2017-16, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political economy of reform; Status quo bias; Social preferences; Voting; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General

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