Social Preferences and Voting on Reform: An Experimental Study

Paetzel, Fabian and Sausgruber, Rupert and Traub, Stefan (2014) Social Preferences and Voting on Reform: An Experimental Study. Department of Economics Working Paper Series, 172. WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna.


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Debating over efficiency-enhancing but inequality-increasing reforms accounts for the routine business of democratic institutions. Fernandez and Rodrik (1991) hold that anti-reform bias can be attributed to individual-specific uncertainty regarding the distribution of gains and losses resulting from a reform. In this paper, we experimentally demonstrate that anti-reform bias arising from uncertainty is mitigated by social preferences. We show that, paradoxically, many who stand to lose from reforms vote in favor because they value efficiency, while many who will potentially gain from reforms oppose them due to inequality aversion. (authors' abstract)

Item Type: Paper
Keywords: Political economy of reform / Status quo bias / Social preferences / Voting / Experiment
Classification Codes: JEL C92, D72, D80
Divisions: Departments > Volkswirtschaft
Depositing User: Claudia Tering-Raunig
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2014 10:48
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2019 00:41


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