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Is the veil of ignorance only a concept about risk? An experiment

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  • Hörisch, Hannah

Abstract

We implement the Rawlsian thought experiment of a veil of ignorance in the laboratory which introduces risk and possibly social preferences. We find that both men and women react to the risk introduced by the veil of ignorance. Only the women additionally exhibit social preferences that reflect an increased concern for equality. Our results for women imply that maximin preferences can also be derived from a combination of some, not necessarily infinite risk aversion and social preferences. This result contrasts the Utilitarians' claim that maximin preferences necessarily represent preferences with infinite risk aversion.

Suggested Citation

  • Hörisch, Hannah, 2007. "Is the veil of ignorance only a concept about risk? An experiment," Discussion Papers in Economics 1362, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:1362
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. What distribution principle would you choose behind a veil of ignorance?
      by Winton Bates in Freedom and Flourishing on 2010-10-11 10:02:00

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    1. Kesternich, Iris & Schumacher, Heiner & Winter, Joachim, 2015. "Professional norms and physician behavior: Homo oeconomicus or homo hippocraticus?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 1-11.
    2. Darya V. Filatova & Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde & Jean Baratgin & Frank Jamet & Jing Shao, 2016. "Cycles of maximin and utilitarian policies under the veil of ignorance," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 15(1), pages 105-116, June.
    3. Becchetti, Leonardo & Degli Antoni, Giacomo & Ottone, Stefania & Solferino, Nazaria, 2013. "Allocation criteria under task performance: The gendered preference for protection," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 96-111.
    4. Cettolin, E. & Riedl, A.M., 2013. "Justice under uncertainty," Research Memorandum 036, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    5. Deffains, Bruno & Espinosa, Romain & Thöni, Christian, 2016. "Political self-serving bias and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 67-74.
    6. Chee Kian Leong, 2014. "The Prince and the Pauper: Fairness through Thick and Thin Veils of Ignorance," CESifo Working Paper Series 4918, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. David Bjerk, 2016. "In front of and behind the veil of ignorance: an analysis of motivations for redistribution," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(4), pages 791-824, December.
    8. repec:eee:pubeco:v:153:y:2017:i:c:p:49-55 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Daniel M�ller & Sander Renes, 2017. "Fairness views and political preferences - Evidence from a large online experiment," Working Papers 2017-10, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    10. Leonardo Becchetti & Giacomo Degli Antoni & Stefania Ottone & Nazaria Solferino, 2011. "Spectators versus stakeholders with or without veil of ignorance: The difference it makes for justice and chosen distribution criteria," Working Papers 204, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    11. John Bone & Paolo Crosetto & John D Hey & Carmen Pasca, 2013. "Chance versus choice: eliciting attitudes to fair compensations," Discussion Papers 13/15, Department of Economics, University of York.
    12. Francesco Farina & Gianluca Grimalda, 2011. "A cross-country experimental comparison of preferences for redistribution," Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID) University of Siena 0211, Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID), University of Siena.
    13. Sophie Harnay & Elisabeth Tovar, 2017. "Obeying vs. resisting unfair laws. A structural analysis of the internalization of collective preferences on redistribution using classification trees and random forests," EconomiX Working Papers 2017-34, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    14. Bolle, Friedel & Liepmann, Hannah & Vogel, Claudia, 2012. "How much social insurance do you want? An experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1170-1181.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    veil of ignorance; social preferences; equality; efficiency; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • C99 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Other

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