Luck, Choice and Responsibility – An Experimental Study of Fairness Views

Reprint No. 2015:60

Author(s): Johanna Möllerström, Bjørn-Atle Reme and Erik Ø. SørensenYear: 2015 Title: Journal of Public Economics Volume (No.): 131 (November) Pages: 33–40
Online article (restrictions may apply)
Preliminary version

We conduct laboratory experiments where third-party spectators have the opportunity to redistribute resources between two agents, thereby eliminating inequality and offsetting the consequences of controllable and uncontrollable luck. Some spectators go to the limits and equalize either all or no inequalities, but many follow an interior allocation rule. These interior allocators regard an agent's choices as more important than the cause of her low income and do not always compensate bad uncontrollable luck. Instead, they condition such compensation on the agent's decision regarding controllable luck exposure, even though the two types of luck are independent. This allocation rule is previously unaccounted for by the fairness views in the literature. Moreover, its policy implications are fundamentally different in that it extends individual responsibility for choices made to also apply to areas that were not affected by these choices.

Möllerström, Johanna, Bjørn-Atle Reme and Erik Ø. Sørensen (2015), "Luck, Choice and Responsibility – An Experimental Study of Fairness Views". Journal of Public Economics 131(November), 33–40.

Johanna Möllerström


Ph: +1 617 850 5561
Mob: +46 73 986 1909

Sick of Inequality?

An Introduction to the Relationship between Inequality and Health

Sick of Inequality.jpg

In this book Andreas Bergh, Therese Nilsson, IFN and Lund University, and Daniel Waldenström, IFN and Paris School of Economics, France, review the latest research on the relationship between inequality and health. What does inequality mean for our health? Does increasing income inequality affect outcomes such as obesity, life expectancy and subjective well-being?


Seminars organized by IFN


To present ongoing research informal brown-bag seminars are held on Mondays at 11:30 am. This is an opportunity for IFN researchers to test ideas and results.

Academically oriented seminars are most of the time held on Wednesdays at 10 am. At these events researchers from IFN and other institutions present their research.

In addition, IFN organizes seminars open to the public. Topics for these are derived from the IFN research.

Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Grevgatan 34 - 2 fl, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden | Phone: +46-(0)8-665 45 00 | info@ifn.se