Luck, Choice and Responsibility: An Experimental Study of Fairness Views

33 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2014

See all articles by Johanna Mollerstrom

Johanna Mollerstrom

George Mason University - Department of Economics; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

Bjorn-Atle Reme

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)

Erik Ø. Sørensen

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 1, 2014

Abstract

We conduct a laboratory experiment where third-party spectators can redistribute resources between two agents, thereby offsetting the consequences of controllable and uncontrollable luck. Some spectators go to the limits and equalize all or no inequalities, but many follow an interior allocation rule previously unaccounted for by the fairness views in the literature. These interior allocators regard an agent’s choice 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.

Keywords: fairness, responsibility, option luck, brute luck, experiment

JEL Classification: C91, D63, D81, H23

Suggested Citation

Mollerstrom, Johanna and Reme, Bjorn-Atle and Sørensen, Erik Ø., Luck, Choice and Responsibility: An Experimental Study of Fairness Views (March 1, 2014). IFN Working Paper No. 1014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2506290 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2506290

Johanna Mollerstrom (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
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HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/johannamollerstrom/

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
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Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Bjorn-Atle Reme

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) ( email )

Helleveien 30
Bergen, NO-5045
Norway

Erik Ø. Sørensen

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
Bergen, N-5045
Norway

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.statsokonomen.no/

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