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The Consistency of Fairness Rules: An Experimental Study

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  • Paloma Ubeda

    () (ERI-CES)

Abstract

In the last two decades, experimental papers on distributive justice have abounded. Two main results have been replicated Firstly, there is a multiplicity of fairness rules. Secondly, fairness decisions differ depending on the context. This paper studies individual consistency in the use of fairness rules, as well as the structural factors that lead people to be inconsistent. We use a within-subject design, which allows us to compare individual behavior when the context changes. In line with the literature, we find a multiplicity of fairness rules. However, when we control for consistency, the set of fairness rules is considerably smaller. Only selfishness and strict egalitarianism seem to survive the stricter requirement of consistency. We observe that this result is mainly explained by a self-serving bias. Participants select the rule that is individually optimal in each situation.

Suggested Citation

  • Paloma Ubeda, 2010. "The Consistency of Fairness Rules: An Experimental Study," Discussion Papers in Economic Behaviour 1010, University of Valencia, ERI-CES.
  • Handle: RePEc:dbe:wpaper:1010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pedro Rey-Biel & Roman Sheremeta & Neslihan Uler, 2015. "When Income Depends on Performance and Luck: The Effects of Culture and Information on Giving," Working Papers 15-12, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    2. Gantner, Anita & Horn, Kristian & Kerschbamer, Rudolf, 2016. "Fair and efficient division through unanimity bargaining when claims are subjective," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 56-73.
    3. Miller, Luis & Ubeda, Paloma, 2012. "Are women more sensitive to the decision-making context?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 98-104.
    4. repec:kap:expeco:v:21:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10683-017-9535-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:soceco:v:74:y:2018:i:c:p:112-126 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Deffains, Bruno & Espinosa, Romain & Thöni, Christian, 2016. "Political self-serving bias and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 67-74.
    7. Goeschl, Timo & Kettner, Sara Elisa & Lohse, Johannes & Schwieren, Christiane, 2015. "What do we learn from public good games about voluntary climate action? Evidence from an artefactual field experiment," Working Papers 0595, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    8. Pedro Rey-Biel & Roman Sheremeta & Neslihan Uler, 2011. "(Bad) Luck or (Lack of) Effort?: Comparing Social Sharing Norms between US and Europe," Working Papers 584, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    9. Goeschl, Timo & Lohse, Johannes, 2016. "Cooperation in Public Good Games. Calculated or Confused?," Working Papers 0626, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    10. Kingsley, David C., 2016. "Endowment heterogeneity and peer punishment in a public good experiment: Cooperation and normative conflict," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 49-61.
    11. Deffains, Bruno & Espinosa, Romain & Thöni, Christian, 2016. "Political self-serving bias and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 67-74.
    12. Kesternich, Martin & Lange, Andreas & Sturm, Bodo, 2014. "On the performance of rule-based contribution schemes under endowment heterogeneity," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-055, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    13. Rodriguez-Lara, Ismael, 2016. "Equity and bargaining power in ultimatum games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 144-165.
    14. Merkel, Anna & Lohse, Johannes, 2016. "Is fairness intuitive? An experiment accounting for the role of subjective utility differences under time pressure," Working Papers 0627, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    15. Sophie Harnay & Elisabeth Tovar, 2017. "Obeying vs. resisting unfair laws. A structural analysis of the internalization of collective preferences on redistribution using classification trees and random forests," EconomiX Working Papers 2017-34, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    16. David A. Welch, 2017. "The Justice Motive in East Asia’s Territorial Disputes," Group Decision and Negotiation, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 71-92, January.
    17. repec:kap:enreec:v:67:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10640-016-0029-z is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Ismael Rodriguez-Lara & Luis Moreno-Garrido, 2012. "Modeling Inequity Aversion in a Dictator Game with Production," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(4), pages 1-12, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Justice; Fairness; Laboratory Experiments; Self-serving bias; Consistency;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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