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.

Mike Norton – Happy Spending

Mike Norton (Harvard Business School) delivered his lecture on the science behind happiness and money. Money does not buy happiness: research shows that after people hit a certain amount of income (some estimates say around $75,000 a year), the next few thousand bucks really does not affect their day to day happiness all that much. What Mike suggests is that people should stop asking themselves “Do I have enough money to be happy?” but rather “Am I using the money I have now in the best way to wring the most happiness from every dollar?”

Before clicking the play button, ask yourself the following two questions:

  • If I have $ 20 to spend, how should I spend it to feel happier?
  • What’s the last thing I purchased that made me happier?