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Behavioural economics: Preserving rank as a social norm

Experiments show that people dislike inequality, but are they willing to overturn established hierarchies to achieve income equality? A cross-cultural experiment shows that from a young age humans exhibit rank reversal aversion when redistributing resources between the rich and the poor, suggesting that hierarchy preservation is a social norm.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Gary Charness is Professor of Economics and the director of the Experimental and Behavioral Economics Laboratory, University of California at Santa Barbara, 2127 North Hall Santa Barbara, California 93106-9210, USA.

    • Gary Charness
  2. Marie Claire Villeval is Research Professor and the director of the GATE-Lab, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 93 Chemin des Mouilles 69007 Lyon, France

    • Marie Claire Villeval
  3. member of the CORTEX Laboratory of Excellence, University of Lyon, 92 Rue Pasteur, 69007 Lyon, France.

    • Marie Claire Villeval

Authors

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gary Charness.