Are Elites Really Less Fair-Minded?
12 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021
Date Written: May 1, 2020
US power ‘elites’ are substantially less fair-minded than ‘non-elite’ general populations claims a study by Ray Fisman and coauthors [Science 349, 6254 (2015)]. This supposedly explains why US governments, run by people less fair than the citizens they represent, have been uninclined to tackle inequality. We critically replicated the study, because different experimental protocols for ‘elites’ (interactive variants) and ‘non-elites’ (standard dictator games) were used to measure preferences. We find that the protocol potpourri drove the conclusion: under standard protocols, we find no significant class differences, if any opposite ones. Our work highlights the risk of producing false positives when ex post results appear invitingly plausible.
Keywords: Class differences, Confounds, Critical replication
JEL Classification: C90
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation