IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/bos/iedwpr/dp-301.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Distributional preferences in larger groups: Keeping up with the Joneses and keeping track of the tails

Author

Listed:
  • Raymond Fisman

    (Boston University)

  • Ilyana Kiziemko
  • Silvia Vannutelli

    (Boston University, PhD Candidate)

Abstract

We study distributional preferences in “large†groups. While most prior experi- ments have focused on exploring attitudes toward inequality in two- or three-person groups, we field a series of experiments via Mechanical Turk in which subjects choose between two income distributions, each with seven (or nine) individuals, with hypo- thetical incomes that aim to approximate the actual distribution of income in the U.S. Our setting thus provides a more direct comparison to the redistributive choices faced by society. Consistent with standard maximin (Rawlsian) preferences, subjects select distributions in which the bottom individual’s income is higher (but show little regard for lower incomes above the bottom ranking). In contrast to standard models, however, we find that subjects select distributions that lower the top individual’s income, but not other high incomes. Finally, we provide tentative evidence of “locally competitive†preferences—in most experimental sessions, subjects select distributions that lower the income of the individual directly above them, while the income of the individual two positions above has little effect on subjects’ decisions. Our findings suggest that the- ories of inequality aversion should be enriched to account for individuals’ aversion to “topmost†and “local†disadvantageous inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Raymond Fisman & Ilyana Kiziemko & Silvia Vannutelli, 2018. "Distributional preferences in larger groups: Keeping up with the Joneses and keeping track of the tails," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-301, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bos:iedwpr:dp-301
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.bu.edu/econ/files/2018/08/local_comp_21Feb2018_rf.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Richard Bernardi, 2006. "Associations between Hofstede’s Cultural Constructs and Social Desirability Response Bias," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 65(1), pages 43-53, April.
    2. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
    3. Nathalie Etchart-Vincent & Olivier l’Haridon, 2011. "Monetary incentives in the loss domain and behavior toward risk: An experimental comparison of three reward schemes including real losses," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 61-83, February.
    4. Lucy F. Ackert & Jorge Martinez‐Vazquez & Mark Rider, 2007. "Social Preferences And Tax Policy Design: Some Experimental Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 487-501, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Andreoli, Francesco & Olivera, Javier, 2020. "Preferences for redistribution and exposure to tax-benefit schemes in Europe," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    2. Christine L. Exley & Judd B. Kessler, 2018. "Equity Concerns are Narrowly Framed," NBER Working Papers 25326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality aversion; Envy; Redistribution;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    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:bos:iedwpr:dp-301. 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: (Program Coordinator). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/decbuus.html .

    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.