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How did distributional preferences change during the Great Recession?

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  • Fisman, Raymond
  • Jakiela, Pamela
  • Kariv, Shachar

Abstract

To better understand how support for redistributive policies is shaped by macroeconomic shocks, we explore how distributional preferences changed during the recent “Great Recession.” We conducted identical modified dictator games during both the recession and the preceding economic boom. The experiments capture subjects' selfishness (the weight on one's own payoff) and equality–efficiency tradeoffs (concerns for reducing differences in payoffs versus increasing total payoffs), which we then compare across economic conditions. Subjects exposed to recession exhibit greater selfishness and higher emphasis on efficiency relative to equality. Reproducing recessionary conditions inside the laboratory by confronting subjects with possible negative payoffs [weakly] intensifies selfishness and increases efficiency orientation, bolstering the interpretation that differing economic circumstances drive our results.

Suggested Citation

  • Fisman, Raymond & Jakiela, Pamela & Kariv, Shachar, 2015. "How did distributional preferences change during the Great Recession?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 84-95.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:128:y:2015:i:c:p:84-95
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2015.06.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan Meer & David H. Miller & Elisa Wulfsberg, 2016. "The Great Recession and Charitable Giving," NBER Working Papers 22902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Becker, Sascha O. & Grosfeld, Irena & Grosjean, Pauline & Voigtländer, Nico & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2018. "Forced Migration and Human Capital: Evidence from Post-WWII Population Transfers," CEPR Discussion Papers 12975, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Lars Ivar Oppedal Berge & Kjetil Bjorvatn & Simon Galle & Edward Miguel & Daniel N. Posner & Bertil Tungodden & Kelly Zhang, 2015. "How Strong are Ethnic Preferences?," NBER Working Papers 21715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Cojocaru, Alexandru & Diagne, Mame Fatou, 2014. "Should income inequality be reduced and who should benefit ? redistributive preferences in Europe and Central Asia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7097, The World Bank.
    5. Sera Linardi & Nita Rudra, 2015. "Globalization and Redistribution Towards the Poor in Developing Countries: Experimental Evidence from India," Artefactual Field Experiments 00399, The Field Experiments Website.
    6. Girum Abebe & Stefano Caria & Marcel Fafchamps & Paolo Falco & Simon Franklin & Simon Quinn, 2016. "Curse of Anonymity or Tyranny of Distance? The Impacts of Job-Search Support in Urban Ethiopia," NBER Working Papers 22409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Pamela Jakiela & Edward Miguel & Vera Velde, 2015. "You’ve earned it: estimating the impact of human capital on social preferences," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(3), pages 385-407, September.
    8. Gauriot, Romain & Heger, Stephanie A. & Slonim, Robert, 2018. "Altruism or Diminishing Marginal Utility?," IZA Discussion Papers 11721, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Cellini, Roberto & Cuccia, Tiziana, 2014. "The Tourism Industry in Italy during the Great Recession (2008-12): What Data Show and Suggest," MPRA Paper 60999, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Chuang, Yating & Schechter, Laura, 2015. "Stability of experimental and survey measures of risk, time, and social preferences: A review and some new results," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 151-170.
    11. Ekström, Mathias, 2017. "Seasonal Social Preferences," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 4/2017, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    12. repec:eee:eecrev:v:105:y:2018:i:c:p:51-70 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Ekström, Mathias, 2017. "Seasonal Social Preferences," Working Paper Series 1159, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    14. Engel, Christoph & Goerg, Sebastian J., 2018. "If the worst comes to the worst: Dictator giving when recipient’s endowments are risky," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 51-70.
    15. repec:eee:pubeco:v:155:y:2017:i:c:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Distributional preferences; Recession; Redistribution;

    JEL classification:

    • C79 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Other
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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