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Rational Moralists: The Role of Fairness in Democratic Economic Politics

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  • Eichenberger, Reiner
  • Oberholzer-Gee, Felix

Abstract

In this paper, the authors empirical]y test for the influence of fairness considerations on the willingness to redistribute income in private and in democratic decisions. In contrast to standard explanations of income redistribution, the authors' theory takes into account that prices shift decisively as they move from the sphere of private contributions to politics. At the polls, it is nearly costless to observe social norms. Therefore, the authors expect individuals to behave more fairly in the political sphere than in the market place. They present experimental evidence which is consistent with this hypothesis. In distributive struggles, social norms moderate the inclination of human beings to behave like 'gangsters.' Copyright 1998 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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  • Eichenberger, Reiner & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1998. "Rational Moralists: The Role of Fairness in Democratic Economic Politics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 94(1-2), pages 191-210, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:94:y:1998:i:1-2:p:191-210
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