The Tradeoff Between Redistribution and Effort: Evidence from the Field and from the Lab
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods Working Paper, 2012-10,
We use survey and experimental data to explore how effort choices and preferences for redistribution are linked. Under standard preferences, redistribution would reduce effort. This is different with social preferences. Using data from the World Value Survey, we find that respondents with stronger preferences for redistribution tend to have weaker incentives to engage in effort, but that the reverse does not hold true. Using a lab experiment, we show that redistribution choices even increase in imposed effort. Those with higher ability are willing to help the needy if earning income becomes more difficult for everybody.