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What is fair? Experimental evidence

  • David Dickinson
  • J. Tiefenthaler

There has been growing interest within the economics discipline in the role of equity concerns in the distribution of resources. This paper presents empirical evidence from a series of controlled laboratory experiments where third-party decision-makers must allocate resources between two individuals. The experimental results indicate that subjects view a wide range of different allocations as the fair distribution of resources. However, regression analysis indicates that both treatment effects and a few demographic variables explain some of this variation in fairness concepts. Most significantly, decision-makers rewarded subjects who earned their favorable positions and the gender of the decision-maker was an important predictor of the allocation chosen.

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File Function: First version, 2000
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Paper provided by Utah State University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2000-04.

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Length: 37 pages
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Handle: RePEc:usu:wpaper:2000-04
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