Discussion Paper Details

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Title: What's the monetary value of distributive justice?

Author(s): Giacomo Corneo and Christina Fong

Publication Date: September 2005

Keyword(s): distributive justice, fairness and governmental redistribution

Programme Area(s): Public Economics

Abstract: This paper develops a simple theoretical model that can be implemented to estimate the willingness to pay for distributive justice. We derive a formula that allows one to recover the willingness to pay for distributive justice from the estimated coefficients of a probit regression and fiscal data. Using this formula and data from a 1998 Gallup Social Audit, we find that the monetary value of justice in the United States is about one fifth of GDP. We also generalize the model to estimate the value of justice for different types of people (e.g., Republicans, Democrats, urban dwellers, rural dwellers). We find no evidence that the value of justice varies across types of people. This is consistent with the idea that political differences between types are due to differences in the beliefs about the fairness of the market system, rather than differences in the values they place on distributive justice.

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Bibliographic Reference

Corneo, G and Fong, C. 2005. 'What's the monetary value of distributive justice?'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.