Experimental Economics

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 819–841 | Cite as

Procedural fairness in lotteries assigning initial roles in a dynamic setting

  • Gianluca GrimaldaEmail author
  • Anirban Kar
  • Eugenio Proto
Original Paper


We extend the study of procedural fairness in three new directions. Firstly, we focus on lotteries determining the initial roles in a two-person game. One of the roles carries a potential advantage over the other. All the experimental literature has thus far focused on lotteries determining the final payoffs of a game. Secondly, we modify procedural fairness in a dynamic—i.e. over several repetitions of a game—as well as in a static—i.e. within a single game-sense. Thirdly, we analyse whether assigning individuals a minimal chance of achieving an advantaged position is enough to make them willing to accept substantially more inequality. We find that procedural fairness matters under all of these accounts. Individuals clearly respond to the degree of fairness in assigning initial roles, appraise contexts that are dynamically fair more positively than contexts that are not, and are generally more willing to accept unequal outcomes when they are granted a minimal opportunity to acquire the advantaged position. Unexpectedly, granting full equality of opportunity does not lead to the highest efficiency.


Procedural fairness Equality of opportunity Experiments 

JEL Classification

C92 C78 D63 



We thank Iwan Barankay, Dirk Engelmann, Enrique Fatás, Peter Hammond, Andrew Oswald, Elke Renner, Blanca Rodriguez, Tim Salmon, Stefan Traub for useful discussion, as well as participants in the Workshop on ‘Procedural fairness—theory and evidence’, Max Planck Institute for Economics (Jena), the 2008 IMEBE conference, the 2008 European ESA conference, the 2010 Seminar on ‘Reason and Fairness’, Granada, and seminar participants at Nottingham, Royal Holloway, Trento, Warwick. We also appreciate the careful reading of the paper and the insightful suggestions by two anonymous referees and the journal editors. We especially thank Malena Digiuni for excellent research assistance, Stefan Trautmann for fruitful discussion, and Steven Bosworth for his comments on a previous version of the paper. Any errors are our sole responsibility. This project was financed by the University of Warwick RDF grant RD0616. Gianluca Grimalda acknowledges financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (grant ECO 2011-23634), Bancaixa (P1. 1A2010-17), Junta de Andalucía (P07-SEJ-03155), and Generalitat Valenciana (grant GV/2012/045).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (pdf 1271 KB)


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gianluca Grimalda
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Anirban Kar
    • 4
  • Eugenio Proto
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Universitat Jaume I of CastellóCastelló de la PlanaSpain
  2. 2.Institute for the World EconomyKielGermany
  3. 3.Centre for the Study of Global Cooperation ResearchUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany
  4. 4.Delhi School of EconomicsUniversity of DelhiNew DelhiIndia
  5. 5.University of WarwickCoventryUK
  6. 6.IZABonnGermany
  7. 7.CESifoMunichGermany

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