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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

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Volume 18, Issue 1


Volume 6 (2006)

Volume 4 (2004)

Volume 2 (2002)

Volume 1 (2001)

Performance, Luck and Equality: An Experimental Analysis of Subjects’ Preferences for Different Allocation Criteria

Leonardo Becchetti
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Economics Law and Institutions, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via Columbia 2, 00133, Roma, Italy
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/ Giacomo Degli Antoni
  • Department of Law, Politics and International Studies, University of Parma, via Università 12, 43121 Parma, Italy
  • Econometica, Inter-University Center for Economic Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility, via Bicocca degli Arcimboldi 8, 20126 Milano, Italy
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Stefania Ottone
  • Econometica, Inter-University Center for Economic Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility, via Bicocca degli Arcimboldi 8, 20126 Milano, Italy
  • Department of Economics, Management and Statistics, University of Milano Bicocca, Piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo, 1, 20126 Milano, Italy
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/ Nazaria Solferino
  • Department of Economics Law and Institutions, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via Columbia 2, 00133, Roma, Italy
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2018-01-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2016-0259


We perform an experimental analysis to investigate participants’ choices of allocative criteria under different conditions. We document that performance-based criteria guaranteeing a minimal egalitarian base are widely preferred by both neutral spectators and stakeholders without information on relative payoffs, although popularity among stakeholders is mostly due to self-interest considerations and optimism concerning their expected performance. Information regarding the distribution of payoffs under different criteria dramatically reduces such choice because the self-interest motive directly emerges, and most players opt to revise their decision in favor of the criterion maximizing their own payoff.

Keywords: fairness; justice; performance; equality; luck

JEL Classification: C91; D63


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About the article

Published Online: 2018-01-23

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Volume 18, Issue 1, 20160259, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2016-0259.

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