Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Discussion Paper Series in Economics,
Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics

No 18/2015: Fairness and the Development of Inequality Acceptance.

Ingvild Almås (), Alexander W. Cappelen (), Erik Ø. Sørensen () and Bertil Tungodden ()
Additional contact information
Ingvild Almås: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Alexander W. Cappelen: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Erik Ø. Sørensen: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Bertil Tungodden: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway

Abstract: Fairness considerations fundamentally affect human behavior, but Our understanding of the nature and development of people’s fairness preferences is limited. The dictator game has been the standard experimental design for studying fairness preferences, but it only captures a situation where there is broad agreement that fairness requires equal split. In real life, People often disagree on what is fair, largely because they disagree on whether individual achievements, luck, and efficiency considerations of what maximizes total benefits, can justify inequalities. We modified the dictator game to capture these elements, and studied how inequality acceptance develops in adolescence. We found as children enter adolescence, they increasingly viewed inequalities reflecting differences in individual achievements, but not luck, fair, whereas efficiency considerations mainly played a role in late adolescence.

Keywords: Fairness; inequality

JEL-codes: D63

19 pages, August 10, 2015

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