To Be or Not to Be Involved: A Questionnaire-Experimental View on Harsanyi's Utilitarian Ethics

21 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2008

See all articles by Yoram Amiel

Yoram Amiel

Ruppin Academic Center - Department of Economics and Management

Frank Cowell

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD)

Wulf Gaertner

Universität Osnabrück

Date Written: June 2006

Abstract

According to standard theory founded on Harsanyi (1953, 1955) a social welfare function can be appropriately based on the individual's approach to choice under uncertainty. We investigate whether people really do rank distributions according to the same principles irrespective of whether the comparison involves money payoffs in a risky situation or the distribution of income among persons. We use a questionnaire experiment to focus on the two different interpretations of the Harsanyi approach.There are important, systematic differences that transcend the cultural background of respondents.

JEL Classification: C13, D63

Suggested Citation

Amiel, Yoram and Cowell, Frank A. and Gaertner, Wulf, To Be or Not to Be Involved: A Questionnaire-Experimental View on Harsanyi's Utilitarian Ethics (June 2006). , Vol. , pp. -, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1117705

Yoram Amiel (Contact Author)

Ruppin Academic Center - Department of Economics and Management ( email )

Emek Hefer 40250
Israel

Frank A. Cowell

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 (0)171-955 7277 (Phone)
+44 (0)171-242 2357 (Fax)

Wulf Gaertner

Universität Osnabrück ( email )

Department of Economics
D-49069 Osnabrueck
Germany

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