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Working papers


"Positional Views" as the Cornerstone of Sen’s Idea of Justice

Antoinette Baujard, Muriel Gilardone, Working paper GATE 2019-22
Our paper offers a novel reading of Sen’s idea of justice, beyond the standard prisms imposed by theories of justice – resting on external normative criteria – and formal welfarism – involving the definition of individual welfare and its aggregation. Instead we take seriously Sen’s emphasis on personal agency and focus on his original contribution to the issue of objectivity. Firstly, we demonstrate that Sen’s idea of justice, with at its core “positional views”, is more respectful of persons’ agency than would be a theory based on individual preference or capability. Secondly, we argue that Sen’s conception of objectivity considers that both information and sentiments are relative to a position. Such an alternative approach to subjectivity allows the formation of more impartial views through collective deliberation and a better consideration of justice by agents themselves.

Do measures of risk attitude in the laboratory predict behavior under risk in and outside of the laboratory ?

Gary Charness, Thomas Garcia, Theo Offerman, Marie Claire Villeval, Working paper GATE 2019-21
We consider the external validity of laboratory measures of risk attitude. Based on a large-scale experiment using a representative panel of the Dutch population, we test if these measures can explain two different types of behavior : (i) behavior in laboratory risky financial decisions, and (ii) behavior in naturally-occurring field behavior under risk (financial, health and employment decisions). We find that measures of risk attitude are related to behavior in laboratory financial decisions and the most complex measures are outperformed by simpler measures. However, measures of risk attitude are not related to risk-taking in the field, calling into question the methods currently used for the purpose of measuring actual risk preferences. We conclude that while the external validity of measures of risk attitude holds in closely related frameworks, this validity is compromised in more remote settings.