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«Must Reward Hard Work»? An Experiment on Personal Responsibility and Preferences for Redistribution

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This study designs a laboratory experiment to investigate the link between personal responsibility and individual preferences for redistribution. We contribute to the literature by considering two key insights: first, effort is costly; second, its fruits can be grasped only in the future. Participants face a crucial trade-off between providing a costly effort or free-riding on their fellows’ effort, playing in a context where the size and the distribution of the pie depend both on circumstances beyond their control, and on their choice of working hard and voting for redistribution. Our findings suggest that people tend to reward effort: the demand for redistribution decreases when the observed average effort in the society increases and the cost of effort is higher. Moreover, people ask for less redistribution the more they are interested in the future. These results hold controlling for a number of other possible determinants of the preferences for redistribution.

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  • Sergio Beraldo & Massimiliano Piacenza & Gilberto Turati, 2014. "«Must Reward Hard Work»? An Experiment on Personal Responsibility and Preferences for Redistribution," CSEF Working Papers 377, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:377
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    Cited by:

    1. Matteo Assandri & Anna Maffioletti & Massimiliano Piacenza & Gilberto Turati, 2018. "Risk Attitudes and Preferences for Redistribution: New Evidence from the Lab," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo Group, vol. 64(3), pages 489-515.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    income redistribution; personal responsibility; individual effort; social mobility; inter-temporal preferences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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