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Luck, Choice and Responsibility. An experimental study of fairness views

Author

Listed:
  • Möllerström, Johanna

    () (Harvard University)

  • Reme, Bjørn-Atle

    () (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Sørensen, Erik Ø.

    () (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

Abstract

We conduct a laboratory experiment where third-party spectators can redistribute resources between two agents, thereby offsetting the consequences of controllable and uncontrollable luck. Some spectators go to the limits and equalize all or no inequalities, but many follow an interior allocation rule previously unaccounted for by the fairness views in the literature. These interior allocators regard an agent’s choice as more important than the cause of her low income and do not always compensate bad uncontrollable luck. Instead, they condition such compensation on the agent’s decision regarding controllable luck exposure, even though the two types of luck are independent.

Suggested Citation

  • Möllerström, Johanna & Reme, Bjørn-Atle & Sørensen, Erik Ø., 2014. "Luck, Choice and Responsibility. An experimental study of fairness views," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 6/2014, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhheco:2014_006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Egalitarianism in the lab
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-05-01 17:51:57
    2. Heritability & the left
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2015-02-19 20:31:40
    3. Blind to luck
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2018-12-04 16:23:35

    Citations

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    Cited by:

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    2. Bartling, Björn & Cappelen, Alexander W & Ekström, Mathias & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2018. "Fairness in Winner-Take-All Markets," Working Paper Series 1214, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    3. Cappelen, Alexander W. & Mollerstrom, Johanna & Reme, Bjørn-Atle & Tungodden, Bertil, 2019. "A Meritocratic Origin of Egalitarian Behavior," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 9/2019, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    4. Strobl, Renate & Wunsch, Conny, 2018. "Risky Choices and Solidarity: Why Experimental Design Matters," Working papers 2018/17, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    5. 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.
    6. Paetzel, Fabian & Sausgruber, Rupert, 2018. "Cognitive ability and in-group bias: An experimental study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 280-292.
    7. Alexander Cappelen & Karl Ove Moene & Siv-Elisabeth Skjelbred & Bertil Tungodden, 2017. "The Merit Primacy Effect," Working Papers 2017-047, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    8. Sugden, Robert & Wang, Mengjie, 2020. "Equality of opportunity and the acceptability of outcome inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).
    9. Stefania Bortolotti & Ivan Soraperra & Matthias Sutter & Claudia Zoller, 2017. "Too Lucky to be True - Fairness Views under the Shadow of Cheating," CESifo Working Paper Series 6563, CESifo.
    10. Tetteh-Baah, Samuel Kofi & Günther, Isabel, 2020. "The impact of gender and ethnic discrimination on redistribution and productivity," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224633, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Fehr, Dietmar, 2018. "Is increasing inequality harmful? Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 123-134.
    12. Lea Cassar & Arnd H. Klein, 2017. "A Matter of Perspective: How Experience Shapes Preferences for Redistribution," CESifo Working Paper Series 6302, CESifo.
    13. Anderberg, Dan & Morsink, Karlijn, 2020. "The introduction of formal insurance and its effect on redistribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 22-45.
    14. Lenel, Friederike & Steiner, Susan, 2020. "Formal insurance and solidarity. Experimental evidence from Cambodia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 174(C), pages 212-234.
    15. Persson, Emil, 2016. "Frustration and Anger in Games: A First Empirical Test of the Theory," Working Papers in Economics 647, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    16. 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.
    17. Bejarano, Hernan & Gillet, Joris & Lara, Ismael Rodríguez, 2021. "When the rich do (not) trust the (newly) rich: Experimental evidence on the effects of positive random shocks in the trust game," OSF Preprints wmejt, Center for Open Science.
    18. Gabriele Camera & Cary Deck & David Porter, 2016. "Do Economic Inequalities Affect Long-Run Cooperation?," Working Papers 16-18, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    19. Persson, Emil, 2018. "Testing the impact of frustration and anger when responsibility is low," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 435-448.
    20. Gustavo Caballero, "undated". "Information Effect Regarding Inequality of Opportunities on Redistribution: A Lab Experiment," Working Papers 2014-75, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 15 Oct 2014.
    21. Klimm, Felix, 2019. "Suspicious success – Cheating, inequality acceptance, and political preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 36-55.
    22. Paetzel, Fabian & Sausgruber, Rupert, 2017. "Entitlements and Loyalty in Groups: An Experimental Study," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168224, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    23. Lenel, Friederike & Steiner, Susan, 2017. "Insurance and Solidarity: Evidence from a Lab-in-the-Field Experiment in Cambodia," IZA Discussion Papers 10986, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    24. Christine L. Exley & Judd B. Kessler, 2018. "Equity Concerns are Narrowly Framed," NBER Working Papers 25326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fairness; responsibility; option luck; brute luck; experimen.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

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