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Inequality, Inequity Aversion, and the Provision of Public Goods

Author

Listed:
  • Kölle, Felix

    () (University of Cologne)

  • Sliwka, Dirk

    () (University of Cologne)

  • Zhou, Nannan

    () (University of Cologne)

Abstract

We investigate the effects of inequality in wealth on the incentives to contribute to a public good when agents are inequity averse and may differ in ability. We show that equality may lead to a reduction of public good provision below levels generated by purely selfish agents. But introducing inequality motivates more productive agents to exert higher efforts and help the group to coordinate on equilibria with less free-riding. As a result, less able agents may benefit from initially disadvantageous inequality. Moreover, the more inequity averse the agents, the more inequality should be imposed even by an egalitarian social planner.

Suggested Citation

  • Kölle, Felix & Sliwka, Dirk & Zhou, Nannan, 2011. "Inequality, Inequity Aversion, and the Provision of Public Goods," IZA Discussion Papers 5514, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5514
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pedro Rey-Biel, 2008. "Inequity Aversion and Team Incentives," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(2), pages 297-320, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gill, David & Stone, Rebecca, 2015. "Desert and inequity aversion in teams," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 42-54.
    2. Kölle, Felix, 2015. "Heterogeneity and cooperation: The role of capability and valuation on public goods provision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 120-134.
    3. Felix Kolle, 2012. "Heterogeneity and Cooperation in Privileged Groups: The Role of Capability and Valuation on Public Goods Provision," Discussion Papers 2012-07, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    4. Abeler, Johannes & Altmann, Steffen & Goerg, Sebastian J. & Kube, Sebastian & Wibral, Matthias, 2011. "Equity and Efficiency in Multi-Worker Firms: Insights from Experimental Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5727, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    public goods; inequality; inequity aversion; social welfare; voluntary provision; income distribution; heterogeneity;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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