Experimental economics has developed into one of the most productive and empirically relevant research fields in economics since the mid 1990s. The Nobel Prize in Economics 2002 was awarded Daniel Kahneman and Vernon L. Smith for their contribution to the field. An important contribution of experimental economics is that it has established, with games such as the ultimatum game and the dictator game, that people are motivated by fairness considerations and that they are willing to sacrifice pecuniary gain s in order to avoid large deviations from what they consider to be a fair outcome (Camerer, 2003, Konow 2000).
Much of the experimental literature on fairness has focused on the extent to which people are willing to trade-off self-interest and fairness consideration in relatively simple situations where most people agree about what fairness implies. Less attention has been given to what people consider to be fair in more complex situations. In recent work, see Cappelen et al (2007a), we have developed a method for simultaneously estimating the prevalence of different fairness ideals and the weight people attach to fairness considerations. We did so using a dictator game in which the distribution phase is preceded by a production phase. Given a simple ra ndom utility model in which people make a trade-off between pecuniary gains and fairness considerations when distributing the income produced, we estimated the share of the population motivated by different fairness ideals and the distribution of the weig ht people attach to fairness considerations.
The main objective of the research collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley and LMU is to collaborate with the experimental teams of Professor Kariv and Professor Konow to develop the method presented in Cappelen et al (2007a). We also plan to apply this method in various comparative studies of fairness perceptions.