Rational moralists: The role of fairness in democratic economic politics

  • Eichenberger R
  • Oberholzer-Gee F
  • 22


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 43


    Citations of this article.


In this paper, we empirically test for the influence of fairness considerations on the willingness to redistribute income in private and in democratic decisions. In contrast to standard explanations of income redistribution, our theory takes into account that prices shift decisively as we move from the sphere of private contributions to politics. At the polls, it is nearly costless to observe social norms. Therefore,we expect individuals to behave more fairly in the political sphere than in the market place. We present experimental evidence which is consistent with this hypothesis. In distributive struggles, social norms moderate the inclination of human beings to behave like ‘gangsters’.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Reiner Eichenberger

  • Felix Oberholzer-Gee

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free