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Equality preference in the claims problem: a questionnaire study of cuts in earnings and pensions

  • BOSMANS, Kristof
  • SCHOKKAERT, Erik

Many distributional conflicts are characterized by the presence of acquired rights. The basic structure of these conflicts is that of the so-called claims problem, in which an amount of money has to be divided among individuals with differing claims and the total amount available falls short of the sum of the claims. We describe the results of a questionnaire in which Belgian and German students were confronted with nine claims problems. In the "Firm" version, respondents had to divide revenue among the owners of a firm who contribute to the activities of the firm in different degrees. In the "Pensions" version, they had to divide tax money among pensioners who have paid different contributions during their active career. Responses in the Pensions version were more egalitarian than in the Firm version. For both versions, the proportional rule performs very well in describing the choices of the respondents. Other prominent rules in particular the constrained equal awards and constrained equal losses rules fail to capture some basic intuitions. A substantial part of the respondents tend to become more progressive as the amount to be distributed decreases other things equal, and tend to become more progressive as the inequality in the distribution of claims becomes more unequal other things equal. All of these conclusions are robust with respect to the difference in home-country of the respondents.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00355-009-0378-4
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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number -2166.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:-2166
Note: In : Social Choice and Welfare, 33, 533-557, 2009
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  1. MORENO-TERNERO, Juan D. & VILLAR, Antonio, . "On the relative equitability of a family of taxation rules," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1899, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Tito Boeri & Axel Boersch-Supan & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Pension Reforms and the Opinions of European Citizens," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 396-401, May.
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  4. Aumann, Robert J. & Maschler, Michael, 1985. "Game theoretic analysis of a bankruptcy problem from the Talmud," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 195-213, August.
  5. Erik Schokkaert, 1999. "M. Tout-le-monde est "post-welfariste". Opinions sur la justice redistributive," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 50(4), pages 811-831.
  6. Kristof Bosmans & Luc Lauwers, 2011. "Lorenz comparisons of nine rules for the adjudication of conflicting claims," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 791-807, November.
  7. Moulin, Herve, 2002. "Axiomatic cost and surplus sharing," Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, in: K. J. Arrow & A. K. Sen & K. Suzumura (ed.), Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 289-357 Elsevier.
  8. Hougaard, Jens Leth & Osterdal, Lars Peter, 2005. "Inequality preserving rationing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(3), pages 355-360, June.
  9. Diego Dominguez & William Thomson, 2006. "A new solution to the problem of adjudicating conflicting claims," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 283-307, 06.
  10. William Thomson, 2007. "Lorenz rankings of rules for the adjudication of conflicting claims," RCER Working Papers 538, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  11. HERRERO, Carmen & MORENO-TERNERO, Juan D. & PONTI, Giovanni, 2006. "On the adjudication of conflicting claims: an experimental study," CORE Discussion Papers 2006062, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  12. JU, Biung-Ghi & MORENO-TERNERO, Juan D., 2007. "On the equivalence between progressive taxation and inequality reduction," CORE Discussion Papers 2007002, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  13. Youngsub Chun & William Thomson, 2004. "Convergence under Replication of Rules to Adjudicate Conflicting Claims," RCER Working Papers 512, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  14. Young, H. P., 1988. "Distributive justice in taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 321-335, April.
  15. José Alcalde & María Marco & José Silva, 2008. "The minimal overlap rule revisited," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 109-128, June.
  16. Sen, Amartya, 1997. "On Economic Inequality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292975, March.
  17. Tito Boeri & Axel Börsch-Supan & Guido Tabellini, 2001. "Would you like to shrink the welfare state? A survey of European citizens," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 7-50, 04.
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