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On the malleability of fairness ideals: Spillover effects in partial and impartial allocation tasks

Dengler-Roscher, Kathrin, Natalia Montinari, Marian Panganiban, Matteo Ploner and Benedikt Werner

Journal of Economic Psychology, 2018, vol. 65, issue C, 60-74

Abstract: How malleable are people’s fairness ideals? Although fairness is an oft-invoked concept in allocation situations, it is still unclear whether and to what extent people’s allocations reflect their fairness ideals. We investigate in a laboratory experiment whether people’s fairness ideals are sensitive to spillover effects associated with the specific order of allocation tasks. Participants first generate resources in a real-effort task and then distribute them. In the partial allocation task, the participant determines the earnings for herself and another participant. In the impartial allocation task, the participant determines the earnings for two other participants. We also manipulate the participants’ experience, i.e., whether they took part in similar allocation experiments before. We find that participants are more likely to allocate more resources to themselves than what they earned in the real-effort task when they decide partially. Exclusively for inexperienced participants, deciding impartially first dampens selfish behavior when they decide partially.

Keywords: Fairness; Proportionality principle; Dictator; Partial stakeholders; Impartial spectators (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 C91 D63 D64 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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