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Moral consequences of becoming unemployed

Barr, Abigail; Miller, Luis; Ubeda, Paloma


Luis Miller

Paloma Ubeda


We test the conjecture that becoming unemployed erodes the extent to which a person acknowledges earned entitlement. We use behavioral experiments to generate incentive compatible measures of individuals’ tendencies to acknowledge earned entitlement and incorporate these experiments in a two-stage study. In the first stage, participants’ acknowledgement of earned entitlement was measured by engaging them in the behavioral experiments and their individual employment status and other relevant socio-economic characteristics were recorded. In the second stage, a year later, the process was repeated using the same instruments. The combination of the experimentally generated data and the longitudinal design allows us to investigate our conjecture using a difference-in-difference approach, while ruling out the pure self-interest confound. We report evidence consistent with a large, negative effect of becoming unemployed on the acknowledgement of earned entitlement.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 26, 2016
Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Electronic ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher National Academy of Sciences
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 113
Issue 17
APA6 Citation Barr, A., Miller, L., & Ubeda, P. (2016). Moral consequences of becoming unemployed. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(17), doi:10.1073/pnas.1521250113
Keywords Economic experiments; Longitudinal data; Distributive justice; Redistribution; Unemployment
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf


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