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Bertil Tungodden

Bertil Tungodden

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159
Publications
19,604
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4,040
Citations
Citations since 2017
48 Research Items
2204 Citations
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Publications

Publications (159)
Article
Village savings and loans associations (VSLAs) are promoted as an important tool for economic and social empowerment, primarily targeting women. However, there is relatively limited evidence on the impact of VSLAs, and no evidence on whether such programs work better for some groups than for others. Using a large-scale field experiment on a VSLA ta...
Article
Full-text available
A long history in economics going back to Adam Smith has argued that people give primacy to merit – rather than luck – in distributive choices. We provide a theoretical framework formalizing the merit primacy effect, and study it in a novel experiment where third-party spectators redistribute from high-earners to low-earners in situations where bot...
Article
Full-text available
We report from a study of how uncertainty about whether a given inequality reflects performance or luck shapes distributive behaviour. We show theoretically that the reaction to uncertainty depends on how people trade off the probability of making a mistake when redistributing, and the size of this mistake. We show experimentally that uncertainty c...
Article
Full-text available
Human behaviour is complex and multifaceted, and is studied by a broad range of disciplines across the social and natural sciences. To mark our 5th anniversary, we asked leading scientists in some of the key disciplines that we cover to share their vision of the future of research in their disciplines. Our contributors underscore how important it i...
Article
Full-text available
Significance People’s beliefs about why the rich are richer than the poor have the potential to affect both policy attitudes and economic development. We provide global evidence showing that where the fortunes of the rich are perceived to be the result of selfish behavior, inequality is viewed as unfair, and there is stronger support for income red...
Article
We conduct an intercultural experiment in three locations on three different continents to elicit competitiveness and study whether individual differences in competitiveness are related to handedness. Being a “lefty” (i.e., having either a dominant left hand or a dominant left foot) is associated with neurological differences which are determined p...
Article
Full-text available
In a large-scale pre-registered survey experiment with a representative sample of more than 8000 Americans, we examine how a reminder of the COVID-19 pandemic causally affects people’s views on solidarity and fairness. We randomly manipulate whether respondents are asked general questions about the crisis before answering moral questions. By making...
Article
Full-text available
Elections affect the division of resources in society and are occasions for political elites to make appeals rooted in voters' self-interest. Hence, elections may erode altruistic norms and cause people to behave more selfishly. We test this intuition using Dictator Games in a lab-in-the-field experiment involving a sample of more than 1000 individ...
Article
Full-text available
Value added tax (VAT) is one of the main modes of raising tax revenue worldwide but has significantly underperformed as a revenue collection tool in Africa. Non-compliance by taxpayers is a major challenge. This Misum Academic Insight explores the extent to which Tanzanian businesses are VAT compliant and the factors explaining compliance. Practic...
Article
The principle that people should be held personally responsible for the consequences of their choices is a fundamental moral ideal in Western societies. We report from a large-scale experimental study of how far-reaching this principle is for inequality acceptance. We show that third-party spectators violate minimal conditions for a morally relevan...
Preprint
Full-text available
Elections affect the division of resources in society and are occasions for political elites to make appeals rooted in voters’ self-interest. Hence, elections may erode altruistic norms and cause people to behave more selfishly. We test this intuition using Dictator Games in a lab-in-the-field experiment involving a sample of more than 1,000 indivi...
Article
Full-text available
Can television be used to teach and foster entrepreneurship among youth in developing countries? We report from a randomized control field experiment of an edutainment show on entrepreneurship broadcasted over almost three months on national television in Tanzania. The field experiment involved more than 2,000 secondary school students, where the t...
Article
Humans are social beings, and acts of prosocial behavior may be influenced by social comparisons. To study the development of prosociality and the impact of social comparisons on sharing, we conducted experiments with nearly 2500 children aged 3-12 years across 12 countries across five continents. Children participated in a dictator game where they...
Article
Full-text available
We report from a large-scale randomized field experiment conducted on a unique sample of more than 15,000 taxpayers in Norway who were likely to have misreported their foreign income. By randomly manipulating a letter from the tax authorities, we cleanly identify that moral suasion and the perceived detection probability play a crucial role in shap...
Article
We present results from the first study to examine the causal impact of early childhood education on the social preferences of children. We compare children who, at 3-4 years old, were randomized into either a full-time preschool, a parenting program, or a control group. We returned to the children when they reached 6-8 years of age and conducted a...
Article
There are striking differences in inequality and redistribution between the United States and Scandinavia. To study whether there are corresponding differences in social preferences, we conducted a large-scale international social preference experiment where Americans and Norwegians make distributive choices in identical environments. Combining the...
Article
Full-text available
Ethnicity has been shown to shape political, social, and economic behavior in Africa, but the underlying mechanisms remain contested. We utilize lab experiments to isolate one mechanism—an individual's bias in favor of coethnics and against non-coethnics—that has been central in both theory and in the conventional wisdom about the impact of ethnici...
Article
The pari passu principle of awarding claimants proportionally to their pre-insolvency claims is the most prominent principle in the law of insolvency. We report from a lab experiment designed to study whether people find this principle a fair solution to the bankruptcy problem. The experimental design generates situations where participants work an...
Chapter
Chapter 6 discusses the implications of a liberal egalitarian approach to tax policy and argues that such an approach avoids two fundamental challenges faced by the standard welfarist approach: the “exploitation of the hard-working” and the “exploitation of the talented.” It is also argued that the liberal egalitarian approach is able to capture th...
Article
The paper reports the first experimental study on people’s fairness views on extreme income inequalities arising from winner-take-all reward structures. We find that the majority of participants consider extreme income inequality generated in winner-take-all situations as fair, independent of the winning margin. Spectators appear to endorse a “fact...
Article
In recent years, many countries have faced pressure to cut the costs of the welfare state, and different strategies have been utilized to achieve this, including stricter eligibility requirements, reduced level of benefits, and reduced maximum duration of benefits. This contribution reports the results from a Norwegian survey designed to measure wh...
Article
Full-text available
Corruption appears to be an important driver of the resource curse in developing countries. We report from a large-scale field experiment in Tanzania that provides causal evidence on how expectations about future natural resource revenues shape expectations about corruption and the willingness to engage in corrupt behavior. We find robust evidence...
Article
Full-text available
How should income be distributed in a way that respects both the egalitarian ideal that inequalities due to differences in opportunities should be eliminated and the liberal ideal that people should be free to pursue their own idea of the good life without interference from society? We show that reasonable interpretations of the egalitarian and the...
Article
We study the relative importance of intrinsic moral motivation and extrinsic social motivation in explaining moral behavior. The key feature of our experiment is that we introduce a dictator game design that manipulates these two sources of motivation. In one set of treatments, we manipulate the moral argument for sharing, in another we manipulate...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Adolescent pregnancies pose a risk to the young mothers and their babies. In Zambia, 35% of young girls in rural areas have given birth by the age of 18 years. Pregnancy rates are particularly high among out-of-school girls. Poverty, low enrolment in secondary school, myths and community norms all contribute to early childbearing. This...
Article
In this paper we provide new evidence showing that fair behavior is intuitive to most people. We find a strong association between a short response time and fair behavior in the dictator game. This association is robust to controls that take account of the fact that response time might be affected by the decision-maker’s cognitive ability and swift...
Article
This paper studies the role of family background in explaining differences in the willingness to compete in a cognitive task. By combining data from a lab experiment conducted with a fairly representative sample of adolescents in Norway and high-quality register data on family background, we show that family background is fundamental in two importa...
Article
We study how leader compensation affects public goods provision. We report from a lab experiment with four treatments, where the base treatment was a standard public goods game with simultaneous contribution decisions, and the three other treatments allowed participants to volunteer to be the leader in their group and make their contribution before...
Article
We exploit a unique data set, combining rich experimental data with high-quality administrative data, to study dropout from the college track in Norway, and why boys are more likely to drop out. The paper provides three main findings. First, we show that family background and personal characteristics contribute to explain dropout. Second, we show t...
Research
Full-text available
Huge reservoirs of natural gas have been discovered offshore the southern coast of Tanzania. There are high expectations that exploitation of natural resources will substantially increase Tanzania’s national income. This brief presents results from a recent survey experiment of 3000 respondents in Dar es Salaam, Mtwara and Lindi regions. We find th...
Article
Fairness preferences fundamentally affect individual behavior and play an important role in shaping social and political institutions. However, people differ both with respect to what they view as fair and with respect to how much weight they attach to fairness considerations. In this article, we study the role of family background in explaining th...
Chapter
What ethical criterion for intergenerational justice should be adopted, e.g., when faced with the task of managing the global environment? Koopmans ’ axiomatization of discounted utilitarianism is based on seemingly compelling conditions, yet this criterion leads to hard-to-justify outcomes. The present analysis considers a class of sustainable rec...
Article
Full-text available
When forming their preferences about the distribution of income, rational people may be caught between two opposite forms of “tyranny.” Giving absolute priority to the worst-off imposes a sort of tyranny on the rest of the population, but giving less than absolute priority imposes a reverse form of tyranny where the worst-off may be sacrificed for...
Article
More than one billion people in the world have some kind of disability. Apart from the obvious physical challenges facing disabled people, there may also be psychological barriers that make it difficult for them to integrate in society and prosper. These challenges may be particularly difficult in developing countries, where disabled individuals ar...
Article
Fairness preferences fundamentally affect individual behavior and play an important role in shaping social and political institutions. However, people differ both with respect to what they view as fair and with respect to how much weight they attach to fairness considerations. In this paper, we study the role of family background in explaining thes...
Article
Full-text available
Ethnicity has been shown to shape political, social, and economic behavior in Africa, but the underlying mechanisms remain contested. We utilize lab experiments to isolate one mechanism—an individual’s bias in favor of coethnics and against non-coethnics—that has been central in both theory and in the conventional wisdom about the impact of ethnici...
Article
The pari passu principle is the most prominent principle in the law of insolvency. We report from a lab experiment designed to study whether People find this principle a fair solution to the bankruptcy problem. The experimental design generates situations where participants work and accumulate claims in firms, some of which subsequently go bankrupt...
Article
Full-text available
Significance People’s preferences for income distribution fundamentally affect their behavior and contribute to shaping important social and political institutions. The study of such preferences has become a major topic in behavioral research in social psychology and economics. Despite the large literature studying preferences for income distributi...
Article
We report an experimental test of the four touchstones of rationality in choice under risk – utility maximization, stochastic dominance, expected-utility maximization and small-stakes risk neutrality – with students from one of the best universities in the United States and one of the best universities in Africa, the University of Dar es Salaam. Al...
Article
This paper studies the role of family background in explaining differences in the willingness to compete in a cognitive task. By combining data from a lab experiment conducted with a fairly representative sample of adolescents in Norway and high-quality register data on family background, we show that family background is fundamental in two importa...
Working Paper
In this paper we provide new evidence showing that fair behavior is intuitive to most people. We find a strong association between a short response time and fair behavior in the dictator game. This association is robust to controls that take account of the fact that response time might be affected by the decision-maker’s cognitive ability and swift...
Article
The fact that criminal behavior typically has negative consequences for others provides a compelling reason to think that criminals lack prosocial motivation. This paper reports the results from two dictator game experiments designed to study the prosocial motivation of criminals. In a lab experiment involving prisoners, we find a striking similari...
Article
What is the relative importance of needs, entitlements, and nationality in people's social preferences? To study this question, we conducted a real-effort dictator experiment where students in two of the world's richest countries, Norway and Germany, were matched directly with students in two of the world's poorest countries, Uganda and Tanzania. T...
Article
In this paper, we study the role of fairness motivation in bargaining. We show that bargaining between two strongly fairness motivated individuals who have different views about what represents a fair division may end in disagreement. Further, by applying the Nash bargaining solution, we study the influence of fairness motivation on the bargaining...
Article
We study how leader compensation affects public goods provision. We report from a lab experiment with four treatments, where the base treatment was a standard public goods game with simultaneous contribution decisions, and the three other treatments allowed participants to volunteer to be the leader in their group and make their contribution before...
Article
We study the relative importance of intrinsic moral motivation and extrinsic social motivation in explaining behavior in the dictator game. We introduce a novel design that manipulates these two dimensions. The paper offers four main findings. First, intrinsic moral motivation is of fundamental importance. Second, extrinsic social motivation matter...
Article
Full-text available
This commentary argues that the observed heterogeneity in fairness views, documented in many economic experiments, poses a challenge to the partner choice theory developed by Baumard, André and Sperber. It also discusses the extent to which their theory can explain how people consider inequalities due to pure luck.
Article
It has been shown that participants in the dictator game are less willing to give money to the other participant when their choice set also includes the option to take money. We examine whether this effect is due to the choice set providing a signal about entitlements in a setting where entitlements initially may be considered unclear. We find that...
Article
A number of experimental studies have found that females are more competitively inclined than males, and it has been argued that this difference potentially can explain a wide range of real world economic phenomena, including observed gender differences in labor markets (Balafoutas and Sutter, 2012; Flory et al., 2010; Gneezy et al., 2003; Gneezy a...
Article
Full-text available
Field experiments documenting positive treatment effects have a strong policy message: scale up! However, such experiments are typically implemented under close supervision of the research group in charge of the study. In contrast, scaling up would typically imply relying on local organisation. It is not obvious that the positive treatment effects...
Article
The paper reports from an experiment studying how the aversion to lying is affected by non-economic dimensions of the choice situation. Specifically, we study whether people are more or less likely to lie when the content of the lie is personal, when they base decisions on intuition, and when they are in a market context. We also study how aversion...
Article
Full-text available
Many verifiable contracts are impossible or difficult to enforce. This applies to contracts among family and friends, contracts regulating market transactions, and sovereign debt contracts. Do such non-enforceable contracts matter? We use a version of the trust game with participants from Norway and Tanzania to study repayment decisions in the pres...
Article
The standard economic approach to tax policy has to a large extent relied on welfarist theories of justice, in particular the utilitarian view that the government should try to maximize the sum of individual welfare. This welfarist framework has proved a productive point of departure for much economic analysis, but it has an important limitation in...
Article
This paper studies the pro-social preferences of criminals by comparing the behavior of a group of prisoners in a lab experiment with the behavior of a benchmark group recruited from the general population. We find a striking similarity in the importance the two groups attach to pro-social preferences in both in strategic and non-strategic situatio...
Article
This paper shows one way of generalizing the standard framework of inequality measurement to allow for a distinction between fair and unfair inequalities. We introduce the unfairness Lorenz curve and the unfairness Gini, which are generalizations of the standard versions of the Lorenz curve and the Gini. With this more general framework in place, w...
Article
Can lab experiments on student populations serve to identify the motivational forces present in society at large? We address this question by conducting, to our knowledge, the first study of social preferences that brings a nationally representative population into the lab, and we compare their behavior to the behavior of different student populati...
Article
Full-text available
Liberal egalitarian theories of justice share the egalitarian ideal that inequalities due to factors beyond individual control should be eliminated. This justifies that individuals sometimes receive more (or less) than their marginal productivity, which in turn implies that a change in one individual’s effort sometimes will affect the post-tax inco...
Article
Microenterprises constitute an important source of employment, and developing such enterprises is a key policy concern in most countries. But what is the most efficient tool for microenterprise development? We study this question in a developing country context (Tanzania), where microenterprises are the source of employment for more than half of th...