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Social Preferences and Voting on Reform: An Experimental Study

Listed author(s):
  • Paetzel, Fabian

    ()

  • Sausgruber, Rupert

    ()

  • Traub, Stefan

    ()

Debating over efficiency-enhancing but inequality-increasing reforms accounts for the routine business of democratic institutions. Fernandez and Rodrik (1991) hold that anti-reform bias can be attributed to individual-specific uncertainty regarding the distribution of gains and losses resulting from a reform. In this paper, we experimentally demonstrate that anti-reform bias arising from uncertainty is mitigated by social preferences. We show that, paradoxically, many who stand to lose from reforms vote in favor because they value efficiency, while many who will potentially gain from reforms oppose them due to inequality aversion. (authors' abstract)

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Paper provided by WU Vienna University of Economics and Business in its series Department of Economics Working Paper Series with number 4120.

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Date of creation: Apr 2014
Handle: RePEc:wiw:wus005:4120
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