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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 veil of ignorance in the laboratory. Our experimental design allows separating the effects of risk and social preferences behind the veil of ignorance. Subjects prefer more equal distributions behind than in front of the veil of ignorance, but only a minority acts according to maximin preferences. Men prefer more equal allocations mostly for insurance purposes, women also due to social preferences for equality. Our results contrast the Utilitarian's claim that behind the veil of ignorance maximin preferences necessarily imply infinite risk aversion. They are compatible with any degree of risk aversion as long as social preferences for equality are sufficiently strong.

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  • Hörisch, Hannah, 2008. "Is the veil of ignorance only a concept about risk? An experiment," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 230, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:230
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    Cited by:

    1. Kesternich, Iris & Schumacher, Heiner & Winter, Joachim, 2014. "Professional norms and physician behavior: homo oeconomicus or homo hippocraticus?," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 456, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    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. Bruno Deffains & Romain Espinosa & Christian Thöni, 2016. "Political self-serving bias and redistribution," Post-Print halshs-01634208, HAL.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. repec:eee:pubeco:v:153:y:2017:i:c:p:49-55 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.

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    Keywords

    law and economics; incentives; crowding out; 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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