To Be or Not to Be Involved: A Questionnaire-Experimental View on Harsanyi's Utilitarian Ethics
21 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2008
Date Written: June 2006
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: Suggested Citation