Experimental Economics and Game Theory Seminar for April 19

Events, Seminars | April 10, 2019

Join us for the ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory of the Spring 2019 semester, featuring Mike Norton.

Dr. Norton, of Harvard Business School, will discuss his paper Invisible Inequality Leads to Punishing the Poor and Rewarding the Rich (Abstract). The talk will take place on Friday, April 19th, from 4:00 to 5:00pm in room 5183 of Vernon Smith Hall, Arlington campus.
Visit the Seminar schedule to access the paper and to learn more about upcoming speakers.


Four experiments examine how lack of awareness of inequality affect behaviour towards the rich and poor. In Experiment 1, participants who became aware that wealthy individuals donated a smaller percentage of their income switched from rewarding the wealthy to rewarding the poor. In Experiments 2 and 3, participants who played a public goods game – and were assigned incomes reflective of the US income distribution either at random or on merit – punished the poor (for small absolute contributions) and rewarded the rich (for large absolute contributions) when incomes were unknown; when incomes were revealed, participants punished the rich (for their low percentage of income contributed) and rewarded the poor (for their high percentage of income contributed). In Experiment 4, participants provided with public education contributions for five New York school districts levied additional taxes on mostly poorer school districts when incomes were unknown, but targeted wealthier districts when incomes were revealed. These results shed light on how income transparency shapes preferences for equity and redistribution. We discuss implications for policy-makers.

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