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Knowledge, power, and self-interest

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  • Kittel, Bernhard
  • Kanitsar, Georg
  • Traub, Stefan

Abstract

The paperreports the results of a laboratory experiment assessing the impact of social position (endowment) and power (structurally advantaged or disadvantaged network positions) on redistributive decisions, which involve a classical efficiency-equality trade-off. The experiment involves three decision conditions: veil of ignorance, informed dictator, and majority vote. We use a three-person social-preference model in order to derive hypotheses on the effect of knowledge and power on tax choices. Our results confirm that disclosing the social position raises the measured self-interest (Knowledge Effect) and that mandating a majority vote results in concessions, the size of which depends on the player's structural position in the network (Power Effect).

Suggested Citation

  • Kittel, Bernhard & Kanitsar, Georg & Traub, Stefan, 2017. "Knowledge, power, and self-interest," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 39-52.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:150:y:2017:i:c:p:39-52
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2017.04.004
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    Cited by:

    1. Tim Krieger & Christine Meemann & Stefan Traub, 2022. "Inequality, Life Expectancy, and the Intragenerational Redistribution Puzzle - Some Experimental Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 9677, CESifo.
    2. Jake Guth & David Munro, 2020. "Preferences for efficiency and redistribution: An experiment using charitable donations," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 40(3), pages 2217-2226.
    3. Romain Espinosa & Bruno Deffains & Christian Thöni, 2020. "Debiasing preferences over redistribution: an experiment," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 55(4), pages 823-843, December.
    4. José-Manuel Giménez-Gómez & M. Carmen Marco-Gil & Juan-Francisco Sánchez-García, 2022. "New empirical insights into conflicting claims problems," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 709-738, December.
    5. Wolf, Stephan & Dron, Cameron, 2020. "The effect of an experimental veil of ignorance on intergenerational resource sharing: empirical evidence from a sequential multi-person dictator game," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 175(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Redistribution; Power; Self-interest; Inequality; Network; Experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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