Last-Place Aversion: Evidence And Redistributive Implications
Why do low-income individuals often oppose redistribution? The authors hypothesize that an aversion to being in "Last place" undercuts support for redistribution, with low-income individuals punishing those slightly below themselves to keep someone "Beneath" them. In laboratory experiments, they find support for "Last-place aversion" in the contexts of risk aversion and redistributive preferences. Participants choose gambles with the potential to move them out of last place that they reject when randomly placed in other parts of the distribution. Similarly, in money-transfer games, those randomly placed in second-to-last place are the least likely to costlessly give money to the player one rank below.