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What's the monetary value of distributive justice?

Author

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  • Corneo, Giacomo
  • Fong, Christina

Abstract

This paper develops a simple theoretical model that can be implemented to estimate the willingness to pay for distributive justice. We derive a formula that allows one to recover the willingness to pay for distributive justice from the estimated coefficients of a probit regression and fiscal data. Using this formula and data from a 1998 Gallup Social Audit, we find that the monetary value of justice in the United States is about one fifth of GDP. We also generalize the model to estimate the value of justice for different types of people (e.g., Republicans, Democrats, urban dwellers, rural dwellers). We find no evidence that the value of justice varies across types of people. This is consistent with the idea that political differences between types are due to differences in the beliefs about the fairness of the market system, rather than differences in the values they place on distributive justice.

Suggested Citation

  • Corneo, Giacomo & Fong, Christina, 2005. "What's the monetary value of distributive justice?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5227, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5227
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-191, October.
    3. Thomas Piketty, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-584.
    4. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
    5. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 960-980, September.
    6. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, "undated". "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity - Evidence and Economic Applications," IEW - Working Papers 075, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    7. Roemer, John E. & Aaberge, Rolf & Colombino, Ugo & Fritzell, Johan & Jenkins, Stephen P. & Lefranc, Arnaud & Marx, Ive & Page, Marianne & Pommer, Evert & Ruiz-Castillo, Javier, 2003. "To what extent do fiscal regimes equalize opportunities for income acquisition among citizens?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 539-565, March.
    8. repec:adr:anecst:y:2001:i:63-64 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Giacomo Corneo, 2001. "Inequality and the State: Comparing US and German Preferences," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 63-64, pages 283-296.
    10. Erik Schokkaert, 1998. "Mr. Fairmind Is Post-Welfarist: Opinions on Distributive Justice," Public Economics Working Paper Series ces9809, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën, Working Group Public Economics.
    11. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
    12. Lester C. Thurow, 1971. "The Income Distribution as a Pure Public Good," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(2), pages 327-336.
    13. repec:adr:anecst:y:2001:i:63-64:p:14 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    distributive justice; fairness; governmental redistribution;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

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