Almås presents at University of Oxford
On 17 January, The Choice Lab researcher Ingvild Almås presents the paper “Cutthroat capitalism versus cuddly socialism: Are Americans more meritocratic and efficiency-seeking than Scandinavians?”.
The presentation is part of the Applied Microeconomics Seminar series at the Department of Economics at the University of Oxford.
“Cutthroat capitalism versus cuddly socialism: Are Americans more meritocratic and efficiency-seeking than Scandinavians?”
There is striking variation in income inequality and redistributive policies across the developed world. To study whether cross-country differences in social preferences may contribute to explain this variation, we conducted the first ever large-scale international social preference experiment, with nationally representative samples of participants from the United States and Norway. We find that Americans are significantly more accepting of inequality than Norwegians, even when making distributive choices in identical situations. This difference in inequality acceptance between the two countries reflects a difference in fairness views, not a difference in the importance Americans and Norwegians assign to fairness relative to efficiency. We further show that distributive choices in the experiment are strongly associated with attitudes towards redistribution in society. Overall, the study provides novel insights into international differences in social preferences, offers new causal evidence on how fairness and efficiency considerations shape distributive choices, and introduces a new approach to conducting large-scale experiments with nationally representative samples.