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Risk, Entitlements and Fairness Bias: Explaining Preferences for Redistribution in Multi-person Setting

Listed author(s):
  • Mitesh Kataria

    ()

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena)

  • Natalia Montinari

    ()

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena)

Researchers frequently studied the casual relationships of other-regarding preferences by applying experimental methods in bilateral settings (e.g., dictator game and ultimatum game). We use a framed experiment on taxes to study preferences for redistribution in a multi-person setting. We find presence of heterogeneous preferences with a substantial share of tax rate choices in line with both payoff maximization and other-regarding preferences. Notably, our data is not consistent with inequality aversion but points to other forms of other-regarding preferences, as fairness and altruism. By manipulating how subjects are assigned to a given level of pre-tax income, we vary the individual entitlements. We find a difference in the willingness to redistribute income when comparing the treatment where pre-tax income is assigned by relative performance in a production task (a general knowledge quiz) to the treatment where pre-tax income is assigned by luck. We do not find any significant difference in comparison to the intermediate treatment where pre-tax income is assigned by a combination of luck and performance. The perception of a "fair" tax is different depending on whether subjects' pre-tax income is below or above average, which is in line with a fairness bias. Finally, subjects not knowing whether their pre-tax income is below or above the average when choosing the tax rate behave as if they were more other-regarding.

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Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2012-061.

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Date of creation: 12 Nov 2012
Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2012-061
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  1. Ruben Durante & Louis Putterman, 2007. "Preferences For Redistribution and Perception of Fairness: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 2007-13, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2001. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," NBER Working Papers 8267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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