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Equality, Equity and Incentives: An Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Balafoutas, Loukas

    (University of Innsbruck)

  • Kocher, Martin G.

    (University of Munich)

  • Putterman, Louis

    (Brown University)

  • Sutter, Matthias

    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)

Abstract

We devise a new experimental game by nesting a voluntary contributions mechanism in a broader spectrum of incentive schemes. With it, we study tensions between egalitarianism, equity concerns, self-interest, and the need for incentives. In a 2x2 design, subjects either vote on or exogenously encounter incentive settings while assigned unequal incomes that are either task-determined or random. We find subjects’ voting to be mainly self-interested but also influenced by egalitarian and equity concerns, which sometimes cut in opposite directions. Contributions, which seem mainly determined by boundedly rational responses to incentives, are influenced by egalitarian, equity and strategic considerations.

Suggested Citation

  • Balafoutas, Loukas & Kocher, Martin G. & Putterman, Louis & Sutter, Matthias, 2010. "Equality, Equity and Incentives: An Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 5204, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5204
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    experiment; incentives; voluntary contribution mechanism; efficiency; equality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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