It is Hobbes, not Rousseau: An Experiment on Social Insurance
We perform an experiment on social insurance to provide a laboratory replica of some important features of the welfare state. In the experiment, all individuals in a group decide whether to make a costly effort, which produces a random (independent) outcome for each one of them. The group members then vote on whether to redistribute the resulting and commonly known total sum of earnings equally amongst themselves. This game has two equilibria, if played once. In one of them, all players make effort and there is little redistribution. In the other one, there is no effort and nothing to redistribute. A solution to the repeated game allows for redistribution and high effort, by the threat to revert to the worst of these equilibria. Our results show that redistribution with high effort is not sustainable. The main reason for the absence of redistribution is that rich agents do not act differently depending on whether the poor have worked hard or not. There is no social contract by which redistribution may be sustained by the threat of punishing the poor if they do not exert effort. Thus, the explanation of the behavior of the subjects lies in Hobbes, not in Rousseau.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2007|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Piazza San Francesco 7, 53100 Siena|
Web page: http://www.depfid.unisi.it/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, .
"A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation,"
IEW - Working Papers
004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- 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.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., . "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Hassler, John & Mora, Jose & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2002.
"The Survival of the Welfare State,"
704, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
- Hassler, John & Mora, José V Rodríguez & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2001. "The Survival of the Welfare State," CEPR Discussion Papers 2905, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- John Hassler & José V. Rodríguez Mora & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2001. "The survival of the welfare state," Economics Working Papers 603, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- Berninghaus, Siegfried K. & Ehrhart, Karl-Martin, 1998. "Time horizon and equilibrium selection in tacit coordination games: Experimental results," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 231-248, October.
- Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1997.
"Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State,"
Working Paper Series
476, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
- Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jörgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35.
- Tyran, Jean-Robert & Sausgruber, Rupert, 2006.
"A little fairness may induce a lot of redistribution in democracy,"
European Economic Review,
Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 469-485, February.
- Jean-Robert Tyran & Rupert Sausgruber, 2002. "A Little Fairness may Induce a Lot of Redistribution in Democracy," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2002 2002-30, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
- Angeletos, George-Marios & Alesina, Alberto, 2005.
"Fairness and Redistribution,"
4553009, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 1996. "Why people vote: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 417-442, August.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:usi:labsit:019. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alessandro Innocenti)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.