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Friedman, Harsanyi, Rawls, Boulding - or Somebody Else?

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  • Traub, Stefan
  • Seidl, Christian
  • Schmidt, Ulrich
  • Levati, Maria Vittoria

Abstract

This paper investigates distributive justice using a fourfold experimental design : The ignorance and the risk scenarios are combined with the self-concern and the umpire modes. We study behavioral switches between self-concern and umpire mode and investigate the goodness of ten standards of behavior. In the ignorance scenario, subjects became on average less inequality averse as umpires. A within-subjects analysis shows that about one half became less inequality averse, one quarter became more inequality averse and one quarter left its behavior unchanged as umpires. In the risk scenario, subjects become on average more inequality averse in their umpire roles. A within-subjects analysis shows that half of them became more inequality averse, one quarter became less inequality averse, and one quarter left its behavior unchanged as umpires. As to the standards of behavior, several prominent ones (leximin, leximax, Gini, Cobb-Douglas) experienced but poor support, while expected utility, Boulding's hypothesis, the entropy social welfare function, and randomization preference enjoyed impressive acceptance. For the risk scenario, the tax standard of behavior joins the favorite standards of behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Traub, Stefan & Seidl, Christian & Schmidt, Ulrich & Levati, Maria Vittoria, 2003. "Friedman, Harsanyi, Rawls, Boulding - or Somebody Else?," Economics Working Papers 2003-03, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cauewp:785
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Yoram Amiel & Michele Bernasconi & Frank Cowell & Valentino Dardanoni, 2015. "Do we value mobility?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(2), pages 231-255, February.
    2. Giacomo Degli Antoni & Marco Faillo & Lorenzo Sacconi & Pedro Francés-Gomez, 2016. "Distributive Justice with Production and the Social Contract. An Experimental study," Econometica Working Papers wp60, Econometica.
    3. Liang, Che-Yuan, 2013. "Optimal Inequality behind the Veil of Ignorance," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2013:4, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    4. Traub, Stefan & Seidl, Christian & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2009. "An experimental study on individual choice, social welfare, and social preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 385-400, May.
    5. Konow, James, 2008. "The Moral High Ground: An Experimental Study of Spectator Impartiality," MPRA Paper 18558, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Tim Krieger & Stefan Traub, 2009. "Wie hat sich die intragenerationale Umverteilung in der staatlichen Säule des Rentensystems verändert? Ein internationaler Vergleich auf Basis von LIS-Daten," Working Papers CIE 24, Paderborn University, CIE Center for International Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Distributive justice; income distributions; veil of ignorance;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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