IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/inq/inqwps/ecineq2007-74.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Leaky Buckets Versus Compensating Justice: An Experimental Investigation

Author

Listed:
  • Eva Camacho-Cuena

    (Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain)

  • Tibor Neugebauer

    (University of Hanover, Germany)

  • Christian Seidl

    (University of Kiel, Germany)

Abstract

Leaky-bucket transactions can be regarded as income transfers allowing for transaction costs. In its most rudimentary form, leaky-bucket transactions trace out the maximum “leakage” of transaction costs before income inequality is exacerbated, or—alternatively—before a welfare loss is experienced. This notion suggests that part of the income transfer should reach the transferee in order to keep the degree of income inequality or social welfare intact. However, in general, this conjecture is theoretically wrong. Rather there exists a unique benchmark such that it holds only for transfers among income recipients below the benchmark. When both are above the benchmark, the transferee has to be given more than the amount taken from the transferor, and when they are on opposite sides of the benchmark, both should experience an income loss. These three cases cover progressive transfers only. Three more cases apply to regressive transfers, and six more cases apply to income gains. Each of these twelve cases is covered by the present paper. Yet experimental research shows poor empirical evidence for this theory. Subjects’ perceptions of maintaining the degree of income inequality rather follow a simple precept: If someone gains income, the other person involved should be positively compensated, and if someone loses income, the other person involved should be negatively compensated. This expresses sort of compensating justice rather than restoration of the former degree of income inequality according to the orthodox theory. Compensating justice is, however, at variance with the transfer principle.

Suggested Citation

  • Eva Camacho-Cuena & Tibor Neugebauer & Christian Seidl, 2007. "Leaky Buckets Versus Compensating Justice: An Experimental Investigation," Working Papers 74, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  • Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2007-74
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2007-74.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Shorrocks, A F, 1980. "The Class of Additively Decomposable Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 613-625, April.
    2. Bourguignon, Francois, 1979. "Decomposable Income Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 901-920, July.
    3. Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A., 1980. "A single-parameter generalization of the Gini indices of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 67-86, February.
    4. Chakravarty, Satya R, 1988. "Extended Gini Indices of Inequality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 29(1), pages 147-156, February.
    5. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1983. "On an Extension of the Gini Inequality Index," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(3), pages 617-628, October.
    6. Weymark, John A., 1981. "Generalized gini inequality indices," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 409-430, August.
    7. Christian Seidl, 2001. "Inequality measurement and the leaky-bucket paradox," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(6), pages 1-7.
    8. Peter Lambert & Giuseppe Lanza, 2006. "The effect on inequality of changing one or two incomes," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 4(3), pages 253-277, December.
    9. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1984. "Inequality Decomposition by Population Subgroups," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1369-1385, November.
    10. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    11. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1978. "Measures of relative equality and their meaning in terms of social welfare," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 59-80, June.
    12. Casilda Lasso de la Vega & Ana Urrutia, 2008. "The ‘Extended’ Atkinson family: The class of multiplicatively decomposable inequality measures, and some new graphical procedures for analysts," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 6(2), pages 211-225, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. de la Vega, Casilda Lasso & Seidl, Christian, 2007. "The Impossibility of a Just Pigouvian," Economics Working Papers 2007-10, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    2. Traub, Stefan & Seidl, Christian & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2009. "An experimental study on individual choice, social welfare, and social preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 385-400, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:inq:inqwps:ecineq2007-74. 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: (Maria Ana Lugo). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/ecineea.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.