Shachar Kariv – Equality vs. Efficiency

Prof. Shachar Kariv (Berkeley) gave a interesting talk at the Science of Sharing Forum on June 6, 2015. In his talk he answers one of the most fundamental question we can ask to ourselves: what is more important, equality or efficiency?

If you want to know more you can read his paper Distributional Preferences and Political Behavior, a joint work with Ray Fisman and Pam Jakiela. The paper has been published in the Journal of Public Economics (2017, Vol. 155, pp. 1-10).

Abstract: We document the relationship between distributional preferences and voting decisions in a large and diverse sample of Americans. Using a generalized dictator game, we generate individual-level measures of fair-mindedness (weight on oneself versus others) and equality-efficiency tradeoffs. Subjects’ equality-efficiency tradeoffs predict their political decisions: equality-focused subjects are more likely to have voted for Barack Obama in 2012, and to be affiliated with the Democratic Party. Our findings shed light on how American voters are motivated by their distributional preferences.

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