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The Role of Equality and Efficiency in Social Preferences


Fehr, Ernst; Naef, Michael; Schmidt, Klaus M (2006). The Role of Equality and Efficiency in Social Preferences. Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics No. 300, University of Zurich.

Abstract

Engelmann and Strobel (AER 2004) question the relevance of inequity aversionnin simple dictator game experiments claiming that a combination of a preference fornefficiency and a Rawlsian motive for helping the least well-off is more important thanninequity aversion. We show that these results are partly based on a strong subject poolneffect. The participants of the E&S experiments were undergraduate students of economicsnand business administration who self-selected into their field of study (economics) andnlearned in the first semester that efficiency is desirable. We show that for non-economistsnthe preference for efficiency is much less pronounced. We also find a non-negligiblengender effect indicating that women are more egalitarian than men. However, perhapsnsurprisingly, the dominance of equality over efficiency is unrelated to political attitudes.

Abstract

Engelmann and Strobel (AER 2004) question the relevance of inequity aversionnin simple dictator game experiments claiming that a combination of a preference fornefficiency and a Rawlsian motive for helping the least well-off is more important thanninequity aversion. We show that these results are partly based on a strong subject poolneffect. The participants of the E&S experiments were undergraduate students of economicsnand business administration who self-selected into their field of study (economics) andnlearned in the first semester that efficiency is desirable. We show that for non-economistsnthe preference for efficiency is much less pronounced. We also find a non-negligiblengender effect indicating that women are more egalitarian than men. However, perhapsnsurprisingly, the dominance of equality over efficiency is unrelated to political attitudes.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Institute for Empirical Research in Economics (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:June 2006
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 22:47
Last Modified:12 Aug 2017 13:02
Series Name:Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics
ISSN:1424-0459
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html

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