Luck, Choice and Responsibility – An Experimental Study of Fairness Views
40 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2015
Date Written: February 14, 2015
We conduct laboratory experiments where third-party spectators can 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 all or no inequalities, but many follow an interior allocation rule. 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. This allocation rule is previously unaccounted for by the fairness views in the literature, and 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.
Keywords: inequality, fairness, responsibility, option luck, brute luck, experiment
JEL Classification: C91, D63, D81, H23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation