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Are People Inequality Averse Or Just Risk Averse?

  • Carlsson, Fredrik

    ()

    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

  • Daruvala, Dinky

    ()

    (Department of Economics)

  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof

    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

Individuals’ preferences for risk and inequality are measured through experimental choices between hypothetical societies and lotteries. The median relative risk aversion, which is often seen to reflect social inequality aversion, is between 2 and 3. We also estimate the individual inequality aversion, reflecting individuals’ willingness to pay for living in a more equal society. Left-wing voters and women are both more risk- and inequality averse than others. The model allows for non-monotonic SWFs, implying that welfare may decrease with an individual’s income at high income levels. This is illustrated in simulations based on the empirical results.

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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 43.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 23 May 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0043
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/

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  1. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-35, May.
  2. Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Carlsson, Fredrik & Daruvala, Dinky, 2001. "Measuring Hypothetical Grandparents Preferences For Equality And Relative Standings," Working Papers in Economics 42, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  3. Benabou, R. & Ok, E.A., 1998. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The POUM Hypothesis," Working Papers 98-23, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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  8. Kachelmeier, Steven J & Shehata, Mohamed, 1992. "Examining Risk Preferences under High Monetary Incentives: Experimental Evidence from the People's Republic of China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1120-41, December.
  9. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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  24. Amiel, Yoram & Creedy, John & Hurn, Stan, 1999. " Measuring Attitudes towards Inequality," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(1), pages 83-96, March.
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