New Working Paper
Where do fairness preferences come from? Norm transmission in a teen friendship network
By David Hugh-Jones and Jinnie Ooi
People’s preferences about the fair distribution of resources vary within and between different populations, and this affects many economic and political outcomes. We argue that a source of these differences
is the social transmission of fairness norms from peers during adolescence. We ran an experiment on transmission of fairness norms in a friendship network of 11-15 year olds. Observing others’ choices affects
young people’s fairness norms, as expressed in both their own choices and the attitudes they express. Our results show how young people can adopt redistributive norms via the social influence of their peer group.
We also examine how the strength of social influence varies with friendship status and network position.