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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"An Egocentric Sense of Fairness"

Monkeys don't like the perception of inequity:

Monkeys Hate Others' Bonuses, Too, Scientific American: Even monkeys know when they’re getting a bad deal, said primatologist Frans de Waal... Give two side-by-side monkeys a piece of cucumber for performing a simple task and there’s no problem. But if one sees his neighbor get a more desirable grape—“now grapes are far better than cucumber and the monkeys know that”—for doing the same thing, “they become agitated. They don’t like this experiment anymore, even though they get exactly the same food as before. But the partner is now getting grapes. And if you give the partner a grape without any task, then they really don’t like it anymore. So this is, I usually call it an egocentric sense of fairness, it’s like resentment or envy. It’s very similar actually to the response that we have currently to Wall Street bonuses. I always say we live in Cucumberland and they live in Grapeland, basically.”

    Posted by on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 12:15 AM in Economics, Equity | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (36)

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