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How do economists differ from others in distributive situations?

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  • Astri Drange Hole

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Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Astri Drange Hole, 2008. "How do economists differ from others in distributive situations?," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 023, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:labsit:023
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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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    5. Bruno Frey & Stephan Meier, 2005. "Selfish and Indoctrinated Economists?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 165-171, April.
    6. Alexander W. Cappelen & Astri Drange Hole & Erik Ø Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2007. "The Pluralism of Fairness Ideals: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 818-827, June.
    7. 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 135-159, January.
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    12. 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.
    13. Fehr, Ernst & Naef, Michael & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2004. "The Role of Equality and Efficiency in Social Preferences," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 30, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
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    Keywords

    experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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