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Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments

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  • Engelmann, Dirk
  • Strobel, Martin

    (MERIT)

Abstract

We present simple one-shot distribution experiments comparing the relative im-portanceof efficiency, maximin preferences and inequality aversion, as well asthe relative performance of the fairness theories by Bolton and Ockenfels (2000)and Fehr and Schmidt (1999). While the Fehr and Schmidt model performsbetter in a direct comparison, this appears to be due to being in line with max-iminpreferences. More importantly, we find that the influence of both efficiencyand maximin preferences is stronger than that of inequality aversion. We discusspotential implications our results might have for the interpretation of otherexperiments.

Suggested Citation

  • Engelmann, Dirk & Strobel, Martin, 2002. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," Research Memorandum 015, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:umamer:2002015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
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    13. Blount, Sally, 1995. "When Social Outcomes Aren't Fair: The Effect of Causal Attributions on Preferences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 131-144, August.
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