ICES Brown Bag for February 27

Events, Seminars | February 18, 2020

Join us for the ICES Brown Bag Lecture of the Spring 2020 semester, featuring Juan Vargas.

Dr. Vargas, of Universidad del Rosario, will discuss his paper How to Make a Criminal (Abstract). The talk will take place on Thursday, February 27th, from 12:00 to 1:00pm, in room 5075 of the Vernon Smith Hall, Arlington campus.

Coffee and dessert will be provided.

Please visit the Brown Bag Schedule to learn more about the Brown Bag series.


We study whether income inequality generates predatory anti-social behavior in a laboratory experiment. In the experiment, income inequality can be the result of differences in ability across individuals with equal opportunities, it may be determined by (negative) income shocks, or may result from a combination of both ability and bad luck. After their place in the income distribution is determined, subjects are allowed to “take” any share of the income of subjects in every part of the income distribution. We find that anti-social behavior is not explained by subjects’ relative income but rather by the process that determined their position in the income distribution. Specifically, we find that while being in the bottom of the income distribution does not generate a differential taking behavior, experiencing a negative shock does correlate with disproportionate predatory behavior, regardless of the position in the income distribution. Our results suggest that people do not have predatory intentions per se, but they find themselves in situations that exacerbate their antisocial instincts.

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