Fairness preferences revisited

Crawford School of Public Policy

Event details

ACDE Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 03 May 2022


Weston Theatre , Crawford School of Public Policy, No 132, Lennox Crossing, The ANU


Jacquelyn Zhang, Australian National University

Hybrid event, Weston Theatre and Zoom.

This seminar revisits Engelmann and Strobel (2004), who test the theoretical models of fairness preferences with simple distribution games. The authors execute the experiment by recruiting a panel of subjects via the online platform Amazon Mechanical Turk three years prior and directly within the COVID-19 pandemic. They hypothesize that fairness preferences may be different across subject pools and malleable by the external shock of the pandemic. Based on several replication criteria from the literature, they replicate less than half of the preference estimates. Their findings suggest that efficiency concerns have persistent power for rationalizing allocation decisions while maximin preferences do not explain choices in their context. They further see disadvantageous inequality carry a significant weight. Finally, not all of the preferences seem to be stable over time, which underscores the importance of crisis events on fairness preferences in the short run. When discussing differences in findings from their and the original study they conclude that the differences may be attributed to differences in peers, fairness beliefs, or social image concerns.

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