IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hhs/nhheco/2015_025.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Fairness and family background

Author

Listed:
  • 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)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Almås, Ingvild & Cappelen, Alexander W. & Salvanes, Kjell Gunnar & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2015. "Fairness and family background," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 25/2015, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhheco:2015_025
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/2357464/1/DP%2025.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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, April.
    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, June.
    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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Family background; socioeconomic status; lab experiment; fairness.;

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

    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:hhs:nhheco:2015_025. 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: (Dagny Hanne Kristiansen). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/sonhhno.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 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.

    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.