Arnold Kling

Would You Pay to Destroy Someone Else's Wealth?

Arnold Kling, Great Questions of Economics
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Ronald Bailey cites a fascinating experiment conducted by British economists Daniel John Zizzo and Andrew Oswald. First, the researchers placed subjects in a gambling game. Then, as Bailey reports,

At the conclusion of the gambling sessions, each player was given the chance to spend his own money to anonymously "burn" some of the cash won by his fellow participants. It was made clear that there was no prospect that burning his fellow player's winnings would in any way make him richer. In fact, if he chose to burn another player's money, he had to pay between 2 cents and 25 cents for each dollar subtracted from the other player's take.

Zizzo and Oswald found that nearly two-thirds of players happily paid for the privilege of impoverishing their fellow participants.

This might explain Paul Krugman's attitude toward highly-paid CEOs.

Discussion Question. Would you be willing to pay something to have some of Bill Gates' wealth taken away (not given to someone else, but simply destroyed)?

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