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Gender and Redistribution: Experimental Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Buser

    (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Louis Putterman

    (Brown University, United States)

  • Joël van der Weele

    (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Abstract

Gender differences in voting patterns and political attitudes towards redistribution are well-documented. The experimental gender literature suggests several plausible behavioral explanations behind these differences, relating to gender differences in confidence concerning future relative income position, risk aversion, and social preferences. We use data from lab experiments on preferences for redistribution conducted in the U.S. and several European countries to disentangle these potential mechanisms. We find that when choosing to redistribute income as a disinterested observer, women choose higher tax rates than men when initial income depends on performance in a task but not when it is randomly allocated. In a veil of ignorance condition with uncertainty about the income position of the decision maker, this effect is even stronger, leading to a 10ppt gender difference in average chosen tax rates in the performance conditions. We find that this gender difference is mainly due to men being more (over)confident about their task performance and the resulting income position, with gender differences in risk aversion and social preferences playing a minor role.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Buser & Louis Putterman & Joël van der Weele, 2016. "Gender and Redistribution: Experimental Evidence," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-063/I, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20160063
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Uri Gneezy & Jan Potters, 1997. "An Experiment on Risk Taking and Evaluation Periods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 631-645.
    2. Ruben Durante & Louis Putterman & Joël Weele, 2014. "Preferences For Redistribution And Perception Of Fairness: An Experimental Study," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 1059-1086, August.
    3. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312.
    4. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Preferences for redistribution in the land of opportunities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 897-931.
    5. Antonio Filippin & Paolo Crosetto, 2016. "A Reconsideration of Gender Differences in Risk Attitudes," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 3138-3160.
    6. Patricia Funk & Christina Gathmann, 2015. "Gender gaps in policy making: evidence from direct democracy in Switzerland," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 30(81), pages 141-181.
    7. Christoph Engel, 2011. "Dictator games: a meta study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 583-610, November.
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    10. Lucy F. Ackert & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Mark Rider, 2007. "Social Preferences And Tax Policy Design: Some Experimental Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 487-501, July.
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    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. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender; redistribution; overconfidence; risk attitudes; voting; taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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