Fairness views and political preferences
Evidence from a large and heterogeneous sample
We elicit distributional fairness ideals of impartial spectators using an incentivized experiment in a large and heterogeneous sample of the German population. We document several empirical facts: (i) egalitarianism is more popular than efficiency- and maxi-min ideals; (ii) females are more egalitarian than men; (iii) men are relatively more efficiency minded; (iv) left-leaning voters are more likely to be egalitarians, whereas right-leaning voters are more likely to be efficiency-minded; and (v) young and high-educated participants hold different fairness ideals than the rest of the population. Moreover, we show that fairness ideals predict preferences for redistribution and intervention by the government, as well as actual charitable giving, even after controlling for a range of covariates. This paper thus contributes to our understanding of the underpinnings of voting behavior and ideological preferences and to the literature that links laboratory measures and field behavior.