Measuring tastes for equity and aggregate wealth behind the veil of ignorance

Jan Heufer, Jason Shachat, Yan Xu

We propose an instrument to measure individuals' social preferences regarding equity and efficiency behind a veil of ignorance. We pair portfolio and wealth distribution choice problems which have a common budget set. For a given bundle, the distribution over an individual's wealth is the same for both problems. The portfolio choice serves as a benchmark to evaluate whether the wealth distribution choice exhibits equity or efficiency preferring tastes. We report experiments using a within-subject design testing the veracity of this instrument. We find clusters of equity preferring, efficiency preferring, and socially agnostic individuals through reduced form, revealed preference, and structural estimation analyses.

Department of Economics
External organisation(s)
Durham University, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Publication date
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
502057 Experimental economics
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