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Fehr, Ernst; Naef, Michael; Schmidt, Klaus M. (October 2004): The Role of Equality and Efficiency in Social Preferences. SFB/TR 15 Discussion Paper No. 30




Engelmann and Strobel (AER 2004) claim that a combination of efficiency seeking and minmax preferences dominates inequity aversion in simple dictator games. This result relies on a strong subject pool effect. The participants of their experiments were undergraduate students of economics and business administration who self-selected into their field of study and learned early on that efficiency is desirable. We show that for non-economists the preference for efficiency is much less pronounced. We also find a gender effect indicating that women are more egalitarian than men. However, perhaps surprisingly, the dominance of equality over efficiency is unrelated to political attitudes.