IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/pubeco/v94y2010i1-2p131-141.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

A glimpse through the veil of ignorance: Equality of opportunity and support for redistribution

Author

Listed:
  • Krawczyk, Michal

Abstract

This study is an experimental investigation into preference for redistribution of income. It had been hypothesized that (belief in) equality of opportunity in a society diminishes support for the welfare state. This could potentially explain the low taxes and social benefits in the United States vis-a-vis Europe. To verify this hypothesis, participants in an experiment were assigned different "Probabilities of Winning" and matched in groups of four. Next, before finding out who would actually win, they selected preferred transfers to be paid by the winners to the group as a whole. It was found that the average transfers were about 20% lower in the sessions in which winning was determined by performance in a task rather than by sheer luck. This difference cannot be explained by overconfidence in predicting own score. It corroborates the conjecture that perceived determinants of success (i.e. whether poverty results from laziness or bad luck) affect the support for redistribution. On the other hand, greater inequality of opportunity measured simply by dispersion of Probabilities of Winning within a group did not lead to higher transfers.

Suggested Citation

  • Krawczyk, Michal, 2010. "A glimpse through the veil of ignorance: Equality of opportunity and support for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 131-141, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:1-2:p:131-141
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047-2727(09)00118-2
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Klayman, Joshua & Soll, Jack B. & Gonzalez-Vallejo, Claudia & Barlas, Sema, 1999. "Overconfidence: It Depends on How, What, and Whom You Ask, , , , , , , , ," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 216-247, September.
    2. Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 2001. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The Poum Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 447-487.
    3. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
    4. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 699-746.
    5. Michal Krawczyk, 2011. "A model of procedural and distributive fairness," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 70(1), pages 111-128, January.
    6. Alesina, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and happiness: are Europeans and Americans different?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2009-2042, August.
    7. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    8. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    9. Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 2003. "Deadweight Costs and the Size of Government," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 293-340, October.
    10. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    11. Tyran, Jean-Robert & Sausgruber, Rupert, 2006. "A little fairness may induce a lot of redistribution in democracy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 469-485, February.
    12. Sam Allgood & Arthur Snow, 1998. "The Marginal Cost of Raising Tax Revenue and Redistributing Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1246-1273, December.
    13. Edgar K. Browning, 1993. "The Marginal Cost of Redistribution," Public Finance Review, , vol. 21(1), pages 3-32, January.
    14. Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "Inequality," NBER Working Papers 11511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Preferences for redistribution in the land of opportunities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 897-931, June.
    16. Thomas Piketty, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-584.
    17. Piketty, Thomas, 1998. "Self-fulfilling beliefs about social status," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 115-132, October.
    18. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
    19. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
    20. Trautmann, Stefan T., 2009. "A tractable model of process fairness under risk," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 803-813, October.
    21. Edi Karni & Tim Salmon & Barry Sopher, 2008. "Individual sense of fairness: an experimental study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(2), pages 174-189, June.
    22. Lee, Woojin & Roemer, John E., 2006. "Racism and redistribution in the United States: A solution to the problem of American exceptionalism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1027-1052, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:1-2:p:131-141. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.