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Group identity in fairness decisions: Discrimination or inequality aversion?

Carolyn Chisadza, Nicky Nicholls and Eleni Yitbarek

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), 2021, vol. 93, issue C

Abstract: This paper reports preliminary evidence from a pilot study (n=91, with 455 decisions) on issues of decision time and race in distributive fairness decisions in South Africa. We conduct a dictator game to gather data on transfer amounts and time taken for decisions, where dictators are paired with a series of partners with whom they either share or do not share race. Our results are not in line with the empirical evidence that suggests that impulsive decisions are fair: transfers in our sample increase with decision time, with fairer decisions taking longer than selfish decisions. We note significantly higher transfers to black receivers from black decision-makers. White dictators give more to white receivers in very short (<15 s) decisions, but when they take more time to decide, more is given to black versus white receivers. This race-based discrimination in transfers appears to be primarily motivated by inequality aversion: black receivers are (correctly) assumed to have lower income than their white peers. Although our sample is small, the evidence of willingness to reduce perceived race-based inequality has encouraging implications for redistributive policies in the country, and therefore warrants further investigation.

Keywords: Dictator game; Fairness; Discrimination experiment; South Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D64 D90 O55 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:soceco:v:93:y:2021:i:c:s2214804321000628

DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2021.101722

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