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The Role of Equality and Efficiency in Social Preferences

  • Fehr, Ernst
  • Naef, Michael
  • Schmidt, Klaus M.

Engelmann and Strobel (AER 2004) claim that a combination of efficiency seeking and minmax preferences dominates inequity aversion in simple dictator games. This result relies on a strong subject pool effect. The participants of their experiments were undergraduate students of economics and business administration who self-selected into their field of study and learned early on that efficiency is desirable. We show that for non-economists the preference for efficiency is much less pronounced. We also find a gender effect indicating that women are more egalitarian than men. However, perhaps surprisingly, the dominance of equality over efficiency is unrelated to political attitudes.

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File URL: http://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/13518/1/30.pdf
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Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 30.

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Date of creation: Oct 2004
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:30
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
  2. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," General Economics and Teaching 0303002, EconWPA.
  3. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2004. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 857-869, September.
  4. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2004. "The Role of Equality, Efficiency, and Rawlsian Motives in Social Preferences: A Reply to Engelmann and Strobel," Munich Reprints in Economics 20655, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Ernst Fehr & Klaus Schmidt, 2000. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity – Evidence and Economic Applications," CESifo Working Paper Series 403, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  7. Guillaume R. Frechette & John H. Kagel & Steven Lehrer, 2000. "Bargaining in Legislatures: An Experimental Investigation of Open versus Closed Amendment Rules," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1515, Econometric Society.
  8. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2001. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity," Discussion Papers in Economics 14, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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