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An Experimental Test of Preferences for the Distribution of Income and Individual Risk Aversion

  • John H. Beck

    (Gonzaga University)

This study investigates the question of how much income redistribution individuals desire in a society with random differences in individual incomes. The experiments confronted individuals with choices of lotteries determining their own payoffs--to measure individual risk aversion--and with choices of lotteries determining payoffs to everyone in the group--to measure preferences regarding the distribution of income. The subjects were risk averse, but they did not display the extreme risk aversion implied by a Rawlsian maximin rule. The experiments produced little evidence that individuals favor a more equal income distribution than can be explained by individual risk aversion.

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File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume20/V20N2P131_145.pdf
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Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 20 (1994)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 131-145

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Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:20:y:1994:i:2:p:131-145
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