Inequality, Fairness and Social Capital

Dietmar Fehr, Hannes Rau, Stefan Trautmann, Yilong Xu

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

Abstract

We study the impact of unjust inequality on social trust and trustworthiness, and its separate effect on the economically successful and the unsuccessful, in a controlled economic experiment. We find evidence for a negative effect of unfair economic inequality on social interactions. Probing the boundaries of this effect, we document that this erosion of social capital critically depends on the context: if a well-off person is not directly responsible for the outcome of the worse-off person, then we observe no negative effects on trust and trustworthiness in the aggregate. Moreover, our data do not support the view that higher status or wealth leads to an erosion of pro-social attitudes: the successful are always more generous; groups of unsuccessful persons are least efficient and least generous in the trust game.
LanguageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherCentER, Center for Economic Research
Number of pages39
Volume2018-023
StatePublished - 12 Jul 2018

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper
Volume2018-023

Fingerprint

Social capital
Fairness
Trustworthiness
Erosion
Economic inequality
Social trust
Wealth
Trust game
Economic experiments
Social interaction

Keywords

  • inequality
  • fairness
  • social capital

Cite this

Fehr, D., Rau, H., Trautmann, S., & Xu, Y. (2018). Inequality, Fairness and Social Capital. (CentER Discussion Paper; Vol. 2018-023). Tilburg: CentER, Center for Economic Research.
Fehr, Dietmar ; Rau, Hannes ; Trautmann, Stefan ; Xu, Yilong. / Inequality, Fairness and Social Capital. Tilburg : CentER, Center for Economic Research, 2018. (CentER Discussion Paper).
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Fehr, D, Rau, H, Trautmann, S & Xu, Y 2018 'Inequality, Fairness and Social Capital' CentER Discussion Paper, vol. 2018-023, CentER, Center for Economic Research, Tilburg.

Inequality, Fairness and Social Capital. / Fehr, Dietmar; Rau, Hannes; Trautmann, Stefan; Xu, Yilong.

Tilburg : CentER, Center for Economic Research, 2018. (CentER Discussion Paper; Vol. 2018-023).

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

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Fehr D, Rau H, Trautmann S, Xu Y. Inequality, Fairness and Social Capital. Tilburg: CentER, Center for Economic Research. 2018 Jul 12, (CentER Discussion Paper).