NHH presents findings of the world’s largest experimental study
What causes inequality? Do people have the same understanding of economic fairness? FAIR at NHH is presenting groundbreaking research at the Gallup World Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on 5 November.
About the study
- “Fairness Across the World” is the largest experimental study conducted in the social sciences.
- 65,000 participants in 60 countries.
- Rich data on whether people believe that inequality reflects individual choices or background factors.
- New insights on the extent to which people globally find the present level of inequality in their society fair.
- Research conducted by FAIR at Norwegian School of Economics (NHH).
- Started in 2016 and is still ongoing.
‘One of the key findings is that the source of inequality is critical for inequality acceptance. People are much less willing to accept an inequality due to luck than an inequality due to performance differences,’ says Professor Bertil Tungodden at Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) and Scientific Director of FAIR.
“Fairness Across the World” is the largest experimental study conducted in the social sciences, where 65,000 participants in 60 countries make real-life distributive choices. The aim of the study is to conduct groundbreaking experimental research on how to address inequality in society.
Professor Bertil Tungodden from NHH will present the findings of this study at the Gallup World Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
There will also be a panel debate with Tungodden, Nobel laureate Professor Sir Angus Deaton, World Bank Senior Economist Varun Gauri and Professor Rohini Somanathan at the University of Delhi. They will discuss fairness and the sources of inequality, the cost of redistribution, and attitudes to income inequality.
SELFISHNESS MAIN CAUSE OF INEQUALITY
The NHH study collects novel data on people’s beliefs about the causes of inequality, and on their attitudes and policy preferences on inequality and redistribution in their country.
One of the findings is that there are large differences across the world in people’s fairness views, in particular between developing and developed countries.
‘We also find that selfishness among the rich is globally considered to be a main cause of inequality,’ says Tungodden.
The study provides a unique data set for studying inequality acceptance across the world and how fairness preferences and believes shape people’s support for redistribution.
‘US is the most polarized country in the world with respect to people’s support for redistribution,’ Tungodden explains.
WHY STUDY FAIRNESS?
Professor Tungodden says it is important to study fairness because there is huge economic inequality across the world, and growing public concern about the consequences of economic inequality.
In 2018, 26 people owned the same as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world’s population, according to a report from Oxfam.
The development charity emphasized in the report that the world’s wealth is becoming more concentrated, and that the number of billionaires has nearly doubled in 10 years.
‘To understand how to address the current economic situation, we need to understand people’s views on economic inequality. While we know that economic inequality is more accepted in some countries, we don’t know why this is the case,’ Tungodden says.