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Fairness and family background

Listed author(s):
  • Almås, Ingvild

    ()

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

  • Cappelen, Alexander W.

    ()

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

  • Salvanes, Kjell Gunnar

    ()

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

  • Sørensen, Erik Ø.

    ()

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

  • Tungodden, Bertil

    ()

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

Fairness preferences fundamentally affect individual behavior and play an important role in shaping social and political institutions. However, people differ both with respect to what they view as fair and with respect to how much weight they attach to fairness considerations. In this paper, we study the role of family background in explaining these heterogeneities in fairness preferences. In particular, we examine how socioeconomic background relates to fairness views and to how people make trade-offs between fairness and self-interest. To study this we conducted an economic experiment with a representative sample of 14-15 year-olds and matched the experimental data to administrative data on parental income and education. The participants made two distributive choices in the experiment. The first choice was to distribute money between themselves and another participant in a situation where there was no difference in merit. The second choice was to distribute money between two other participants with unequal merits. Our main finding is that there is a systematic difference in fairness view between children from low socioceconomic status (SES) families and the rest of the participants; more than 50 percent of the participants from low SES families are egalitarians, whereas only about 20 percent in the rest of the sample hold this fairness view. In contrast, we find no significant difference in the weight attached to fairness between children from different socioeconomic groups.

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File URL: http://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/2357464/1/DP%2025.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 25/2015.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 20 Oct 2015
Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhheco:2015_025
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/
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
  2. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G., 2007. "Trust and trustworthiness across different age groups," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 364-382, May.
  3. Linda Babcock & George Loewenstein, 1997. "Explaining Bargaining Impasse: The Role of Self-Serving Biases," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 109-126, Winter.
  4. Alexander W. Cappelen & James Konow & Erik ?. S?rensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2013. "Just Luck: An Experimental Study of Risk-Taking and Fairness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1398-1413, June.
  5. 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.
  6. Michal Bauer & Julie Chytilová & Barbara Pertold-Gebicka, 2014. "Parental background and other-regarding preferences in children," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(1), pages 24-46, March.
  7. Christoph Engel, 2011. "Dictator games: a meta study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 583-610, November.
  8. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
  9. 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.
  10. Alexander W. Cappelen & Karl O. Moene & Erik Ø. Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2013. "Needs Versus Entitlements—An International Fairness Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 574-598, 06.
  11. Sutter, Matthias, 2007. "Outcomes versus intentions: On the nature of fair behavior and its development with age," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 69-78, January.
  12. Harbaugh, William T. & Krause, Kate & Vesterlund, Lise, 2007. "Learning to bargain," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 127-142, January.
  13. Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
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