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Spectators versus stakeholders with/without information: the difference it makes for justice
Becchetti Leonardo, Degli Antoni Giacomo, Ottone Stefania and Solferino Nazaria
CEIS Research Paper

We document that being spectators (no effect on personal payoffs) and, to a lesser extent, stakeholders without information on relative payoffs, induces subjects who can choose distribution criteria after task performance to prefer rewarding talent (vis à vis effort, chance or strict egalitarianism) after guaranteeing a minimal egalitarian base. Information about distribution of payoffs under different criteria reduces dramatically such choice since most players opt or revise their decision in favor of the criterion which maximizes their own payoff (and, by doing so, end up being farther from the maximin choice). Large part (but not all) of the stakeholders’ choices before knowing the payoff distribution are driven by their performance beliefs since two thirds of them choose the criterion in which they assume to perform and earn relatively better.

Keywords: Distributive Justice; Perceived Fairness; Meritocracy; Talent; Chance; Effort

JEL-codes: C91, D63

Date: 20/02/2012

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