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Satisfaction of basic needs as a distributive principle

On 25th April 2016 (1-2pm) Frauke Meyer, PhD student at the Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) at Maastricht University will give a presentation about Satisfaction of basic needs as a distributive principle" in Q4.245. Afterwards, Mrs. Meyer will be available for questions and discussions. Her presentation is part of the Economics and Management series. For further information and dates of the seminar series:



In a series of new choice experiments we investigate whether basic needs satisfaction is a distributive principle in economic decisions. We assess the importance of concerns for basic needs satisfaction relative to other distributive motives, namely maximin, efficiency, generosity, envy, and selfishness. In our laboratory and field experiment participants made a series of choices in five-person dictator games. In each game, they can choose among three different income allocations, each of which is predicted by one or more distributive principles. We further provide participants in our experiments with the necessary information that enables judging payoffs in the scenarios with respect to the different other- or self-regarding distributive motives. We find that basic needs satisfaction is an important distributive motive. On average 17-22 percent of subjects display such preference and 34-61 percent choose in line with the motive at least once. In our experiments the principle of basic needs satisfaction seems to be somewhat less important than maximin and selfishness, but more prevalent than concerns for efficiency, generosity, and envy. We argue that the prevalence of concerns for basic needs fulfillment has important implications for the design and acceptance of redistributive policies which address a minimum level of human necessities.

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