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

  • 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)

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.

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File URL: http://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/191528/1/SAM0614.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics in its series Discussion Paper Series in Economics with number 6/2014.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 07 Mar 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhheco:2014_006
Contact details of provider: Postal: NHH, Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Phone: +47 55 959 277
Fax: 5595 9100
Web page: http://www.nhh.no/sam/Email:


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  1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," General Economics and Teaching 0303002, EconWPA.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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  5. Norman Frohlich & Joe Oppenheimer & Anja Kurki, 2004. "Modeling Other-Regarding Preferences and an Experimental Test," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 91-117, 04.
  6. James Konow, 2001. "A Positive Theory of Economic Fairness," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000138, David K. Levine.
  7. Erik Schokkaert & Kurt Devooght, 2003. "Responsibility-sensitive fair compensation in different cultures," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 207-242, October.
  8. Cappelen, Alexander W. & Konow, James & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2010. "Just Luck: An Experimental Study of Risk Taking and Fairness," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 4/2010, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.
  9. J. Michelle Brock & Andreas Lange & Erkut Y. Ozbay, 2011. "Dictating the risk – experimental evidence on giving in risky environments," Working Papers 139, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Office of the Chief Economist.
  10. 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(02), pages 155-174, July.
  11. Alexander W. Cappelen & Astri Drange Hole & Erik Ø Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2007. "The Pluralism of Fairness Ideals: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 818-827, June.
  12. Alice Becker, 2013. "Accountability and the fairness bias: the effects of effort vs. luck," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 685-699, September.
  13. Krawczyk, Michal, 2010. "A glimpse through the veil of ignorance: Equality of opportunity and support for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 131-141, February.
  14. Fernando Aguiar & Alice Becker & Luis Miller, 2010. "Whose impartiality? An experimental study of veiled stakeholders, impartial spectators and ideal observers," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-040, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
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