The Department of Economics Theory, History and Development Seminar Series presents

"Redistribution and Group Participation: Comparative Experimental Evidence from Africa and the UK"
with Marcel Fafchamps, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University

April 7, 2014
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Social Science Plaza B, Room 3218

Fafchamps's talk will cover his team's design an original laboratory experiment to investigate whether redistributive actions hinder the formation of Pareto-improving groups. They tested, in an anonymous setting with no feedback, whether people choose to destroy or steal the endowment of others and whether
they choose to give to others, when granted the option. They then tested whether subjects join a group that increases their endowment but exposes them to redistribution. They conducted the experiment in three very different settings with a priori different norms of pro-social behavior: a university town in the UK, the largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya and rural Uganda. They found a lot of commonality but also large differences between sites. UK subjects behave in a more selfish and strategic way giving less, stealing more. Kenyan and Ugandan subjects behave in a more altruistic and less strategic manner. However, pro-social norms are not always predictive of joining behavior. African subjects are less likely to join a group when destruction or stealing is permitted. It is as if they are less trusting even though they are more trustworthy. These findings contradict the view that African current underdevelopment is due to a failure of generalized morality.

For further information, please contact Jennifer dos Santos, or 949-824-5788.

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