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How do economists differ from others in distributive situations?

  • Astri Drange Hole

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    There are mainly two conjectures on why economists may behave differently than others in distributive situations: the selection hypothesis and the learning hypothesis. In this paper the “Are economists different?” question is addressed. Potential differences in three dimensions are studied: the weight people attach to fairness considerations, the prevalence of fairness ideals, and how people react to communication about fairness. A dictatorship game experiment with a production phase and a communication phase is run with first-year economics and engineering students. This experimental design is particularly suited for examining differences in all three dimensions. To the best of the author’s knowledge, no previous experimental study has been able to address this question as comprehensively as the current analysis.

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    File URL: http://www.labsi.org/wp/labsi23.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Siena in its series Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena with number 023.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:usi:labsit:023
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Piazza San Francesco 7, 53100 Siena
    Web page: http://www.depfid.unisi.it/

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    1. Konow, James, 1996. "A positive theory of economic fairness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 13-35, October.
    2. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2003. "Are Political Economists Selfish and Indoctrinated? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(3), pages 448-462, July.
    3. Linda Babcock & George Loewenstein, 1997. "Explaining Bargaining Impasse: The Role of Self-Serving Biases," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 109-126, Winter.
    4. Bruno Frey & Stephan Meier, 2005. "Selfish and Indoctrinated Economists?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 165-171, April.
    5. Robert H. Frank & Thomas D. Gilovich & Dennis T. Regan, 1996. "Do Economists Make Bad Citizens?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 187-192, Winter.
    6. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Alexander W. Cappelen & Astri D. Hole & Erik Ø. Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2005. "The Pluralism of Fairness Ideals: An Experimental Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 1611, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. John R. Carter & Michael D. Irons, 1991. "Are Economists Different, and If So, Why?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 171-177, Spring.
    9. Anthony M. Yezer & Robert S. Goldfarb & Paul J. Poppen, 1996. "Does Studying Economics Discourage Cooperation? Watch What We Do, Not What We Say or How We Play," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 177-186, Winter.
    10. Fehr, Ernst & Naef, Michael & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2005. "The Role of Equality and Efficiency in Social Preferences," CEPR Discussion Papers 5368, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Loewenstein, George, et al, 1993. "Self-Serving Assessments of Fairness and Pretrial Bargaining," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 135-59, January.
    12. Robert H. Frank & Thomas Gilovich & Dennis T. Regan, 1993. "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 159-171, Spring.
    13. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
    14. Richard O. Beil & David N. Laband, 1996. "The American Economic Association Dues Structure," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 179-186, Fall.
    15. Frank, Bjorn & Schulze, Gunther G., 2000. "Does economics make citizens corrupt?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 101-113, September.
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