IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/gat/wpaper/2104.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Empirical research on ethical preferences: how popular is prioritarianism?

Author

Listed:
  • Erik Schokkaert

    (Department of Economics, KU Leuven)

  • Benoît Tarroux

    (Univ Lyon, University Lumière Lyon 2, GATE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France)

Abstract

We survey the empirical literature on ethical preferences, covering both survey studies and incentivized laboratory experiments. Crucial axioms such as the Pigou-Dalton transfer principle are not accepted by a large fraction of the subjects. Moreover, in formulating their distributive preferences subjects attach much importance to the sources of income differences. Their preferences behind a veil of ignorance do not coincide with their preferences in the position of a social planner. These results suggest that prioritarian policy proposals will not necessarily be supported by a majority of the population. Although the majority opinion does not necessarily reflect the ethically desirable perspective, the empirical results still raise some interesting normative challenges.

Suggested Citation

  • Erik Schokkaert & Benoît Tarroux, 2021. "Empirical research on ethical preferences: how popular is prioritarianism?," Working Papers 2104, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
  • Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:2104
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: ftp://ftp.gate.cnrs.fr/RePEc/2021/2104.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fleurbaey,Marc & Maniquet,François, 2011. "A Theory of Fairness and Social Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521715348, July.
    2. Ilyana Kuziemko & Michael I. Norton & Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2015. "How Elastic Are Preferences for Redistribution? Evidence from Randomized Survey Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(4), pages 1478-1508, April.
    3. Ingvild Almås & Alexander W. Cappelen & Bertil Tungodden, 2020. "Cutthroat Capitalism versus Cuddly Socialism: Are Americans More Meritocratic and Efficiency-Seeking than Scandinavians?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(5), pages 1753-1788.
    4. Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala & Olof Johansson‐Stenman, 2005. "Are People Inequality‐Averse, or Just Risk‐Averse?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(287), pages 375-396, August.
    5. James Konow, 2003. "Which Is the Fairest One of All? A Positive Analysis of Justice Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1188-1239, December.
    6. Tarroux, Benoît, 2019. "The value of tax progressivity: Evidence from survey experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 179(C).
    7. Abasolo, Ignacio & Tsuchiya, Aki, 2004. "Exploring social welfare functions and violation of monotonicity: an example from inequalities in health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 313-329, March.
    8. Matthew Robson & Miqdad Asaria & Richard Cookson & Aki Tsuchiya & Shehzad Ali, 2017. "Eliciting the Level of Health Inequality Aversion in England," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(10), pages 1328-1334, October.
    9. Richard Cookson & Shehzad Ali & Aki Tsuchiya & Miqdad Asaria, 2018. "E‐learning and health inequality aversion: A questionnaire experiment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(11), pages 1754-1771, November.
    10. Andrew E. Clark, 2014. "Attitudes to Income Inequality: Experimental and Survey Evidence," PSE Working Papers halshs-00967938, HAL.
    11. James Andreoni & Deniz Aydin & Blake Barton & B. Douglas Bernheim & Jeffrey Naecker, 2020. "When Fair Isn’t Fair: Understanding Choice Reversals Involving Social Preferences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(5), pages 1673-1711.
    12. Elena Cettolin & Arno Riedl, 2017. "Justice Under Uncertainty," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 63(11), pages 3739-3759, November.
    13. Akbaş, Merve & Ariely, Dan & Yuksel, Sevgi, 2019. "When is inequality fair? An experiment on the effect of procedural justice and agency," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 114-127.
    14. Isaksson, Ann-Sofie & Lindskog, Annika, 2009. "Preferences for redistribution--A country comparison of fairness judgements," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 884-902, December.
    15. Weinzierl, Matthew, 2014. "The promise of positive optimal taxation: normative diversity and a role for equal sacrifice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 128-142.
    16. Jukka Pirttilä & Roope Uusitalo, 2010. "A ‘Leaky Bucket’ in the Real World: Estimating Inequality Aversion using Survey Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 60-76, January.
    17. Traub, Stefan & Seidl, Christian & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2009. "An experimental study on individual choice, social welfare, and social preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 385-400, May.
    18. Aguiar, Fernando & Becker, Alice & Miller, Luis, 2013. "Whose Impartiality? An Experimental Study Of Veiled Stakeholders, Involved Spectators And Detached Observers," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(2), pages 155-174, July.
    19. Paul Dolan & Aki Tsuchiya, 2011. "Determining the parameters in a social welfare function using stated preference data: an application to health," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(18), pages 2241-2250.
    20. Glejser, H. & Gevers, L. & Lambot, Ph. & Morales, J.A., 1977. "An econometric study of the variables determining inequalitty aversion among students," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 173-188.
    21. Benoît Tarroux, 2015. "Comparing two-dimensional distributions: a questionnaire-experimental approach," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(1), pages 87-108, January.
    22. Daniel Müller & Sander Renes, 2017. "Fairness views and political preferences - Evidence from a large online experiment," Working Papers 2017-10, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    23. Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2005. "Are People Inequality-Averse, or Just Risk-Averse?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(3), pages 375-396, August.
    24. Ingrid T. Rohde & Kirsten M. Rohde, 2015. "Managing social risks – tradeoffs between risks and inequalities," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 103-124, October.
    25. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309-309.
    26. Bleichrodt, Han & Rohde, Kirsten I.M. & Van Ourti, Tom, 2012. "An experimental test of the concentration index," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 86-98.
    27. Steven R. Beckman & Buhong Zheng & John P. Formby & W. James Smith, 2002. "Envy, malice and Pareto efficiency: An experimental examination," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 19(2), pages 349-367.
    28. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Santiago Burone & Martin Leites, 2021. "Self-centered and non-self-centered inequality aversion matter: Evidence from Uruguay based on an experimental survey," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 19(2), pages 265-291, June.
    2. Daniel Müller & Sander Renes, 2021. "Fairness views and political preferences: evidence from a large and heterogeneous sample," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 56(4), pages 679-711, May.
    3. Keigo Kameda & Miho Sato, 2017. "Distributional Preference in Japan," The Japanese Economic Review, Springer, vol. 68(3), pages 394-408, September.
    4. Richard Cookson & Shehzad Ali & Aki Tsuchiya & Miqdad Asaria, 2018. "E‐learning and health inequality aversion: A questionnaire experiment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(11), pages 1754-1771, November.
    5. Hurley, Jeremiah & Mentzakis, Emmanouil & Walli-Attaei, Marjan, 2020. "Inequality aversion in income, health, and income-related health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    6. Weinzierl, Matthew, 2017. "Popular acceptance of inequality due to innate brute luck and support for classical benefit-based taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 54-63.
    7. Marcelo Bérgolo & Gabriel Burdín & Santiago Burone & Mauricio de Rosa & Matías Giaccobasso & Martín Leites, 2020. "Dissecting Inequality-Averse Preferences," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 20-19, Instituto de Economia - IECON.
    8. Christine L. Exley & Judd B. Kessler, 2018. "Equity Concerns are Narrowly Framed," NBER Working Papers 25326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah, 2010. "Is the veil of ignorance only a concept about risk? An experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1062-1066, December.
    10. İbrahim Erdem SEÇİLMİŞ, 2014. "Seniority: A Blessing or A Curse? The Effect of Economics Training on the Perception of Distributive Justice," Sosyoekonomi Journal, Sosyoekonomi Society, issue 22(22).
    11. Müller Daniel & Sander Renes, 2019. "Fairness Views and Political Preferences - Evidence from a representative sample," Working Papers 2019-08, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    12. Benoît Tarroux, 2017. "The value of progressivity: Evidence from survey experiments," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 2017-13, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    13. Lionel Page & Daniel G. Goldstein, 2016. "Subjective beliefs about the income distribution and preferences for redistribution," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(1), pages 25-61, June.
    14. Traub, Stefan & Seidl, Christian & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2009. "An experimental study on individual choice, social welfare, and social preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 385-400, May.
    15. Falch, Ranveig, 2021. "How Do People Trade Off Resources Between Quick and Slow Learners?," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 5/2021, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    16. Ranveig Falch, 2021. "How Do People Trade Off Resources Between Quick and Slow Learners?," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2021_04, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    17. Hong, Hao & Ding, Jianfeng & Yao, Yang, 2015. "Individual social welfare preferences: An experimental study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 89-97.
    18. Hardardottir, Hjördis & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Wengström, Erik, 2019. "What Kind of Inequality Do You Prefer? Evaluating Measures of Income and Health Inequality Using Choice Experiments," Working Papers 2019:7, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 31 May 2019.
    19. Joan Costa-i-Font & Frank Cowell, 2019. "Incorporating Inequality Aversion in Health-Care Priority Setting," CESifo Working Paper Series 7503, CESifo.
    20. Cappelen, Alexander W. & Möllerström, Johanna & Reme, Bjørn-Atle & Tungodden, Bertil, 2019. "A Meritocratic Origin of Egalitarian Behavior," Working Paper Series 1277, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    surveys; lab experiments; distributive preferences; prioritarianism; inequality aversion;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations

    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:gat:wpaper:2104. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/gateefr.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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Nelly Wirth (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/gateefr.html .

    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.