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Is Equality Fair?

Arthur Tarasov

The International Journal of Economic Behavior - IJEB, 2015, vol. 5, issue 1, 133-148

Abstract: This paper attempts to answer the question whether people consider decisions that lead to equal outcomes fair. I find that this is not always the case. In an experiment where subjects are given equal opportunities to choose how to divide money between each other in a two-player game, any strategy is perceived to be fair more than half the time, including the profit-maximizing strategy. The equal divisions that lead to equal outcomes are sometimes considered unfair by both players. Moreover, players frequently punished the others, whose decisions led to equal outcomes. I hypothesize that such punishments occur because people have different conceptions of what a fair outcome and fair punishment are.

Keywords: Fairness; Equal outcomes; Reciprocal punishment; Fair division; Social values; Effort. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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Handle: RePEc:but:ijebfa:v:5:y:2015:i:1:p:133-148