Luck, choice and responsibility - An experimental study of fairness views
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Public Economics 2015, 131:33-40 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2015.08.010
Weconduct laboratory experimentswhere third-party spectators have the opportunity to redistribute Resources between two agents, thereby eliminating inequality and offsetting the consequences of controllable and uncontrollable luck. Some spectators go to the limits and equalize either all or no inequalities, but many follow an interior allocation rule. These interior allocators regard an agent's choices as more important than the cause of her low income and do not always compensate bad uncontrollable luck. Instead, they condition such compensation on the agent's decision regarding controllable luck exposure, even though the two types of luck are independent. This allocation rule is previously unaccounted for by the fairness views in the literature. Moreover, its policy implications are fundamentally different in that it extends individual responsibility for choices made to also apply to areas that were not affected by these choices.
This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Public Economics, following peer review.