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Envy Freeness in Experimental Fair Division Problems

Abstract

Envy is sometimes suggested as an underlying motive in the assessment of different economic allocations. In the theoretical literature on fair division, following Foley [Foley, D. (1967), Yale Economic Essays, 7, 45–98], the term “envy” refers to an intrapersonal comparison of different consumption bundles. By contrast, in its everyday use “envy” involves interpersonal comparisons of well-being. We present, discuss results from free-form bargaining experiments on fair division problems in which inter-and intrapersonal criteria can be distinguished. We find that interpersonal comparisons play the dominant role. The effect of the intrapersonal criterion of envy freeness is limited to situations in which other fairness criteria are not applicable.

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Correspondence to Dorothea K. Herreiner.

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Herreiner, D.K., Puppe, C.D. Envy Freeness in Experimental Fair Division Problems. Theory Decis 67, 65–100 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11238-007-9069-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11238-007-9069-8

Keywords

  • fairness
  • envy freeness
  • social preferences
  • bargaining

JEL Classification

  • A13O
  • C78O
  • C91O
  • D63O