I think the story that attracts me the most is sharing
marbles. Michael Tomasello and Katharina Hanmann, two German developmental
psychologists, set up an experiments with 3 years old children who can get
marbles as rewards by pulling ropes on a machine. These children may be better
off if they engage in gift exchanging and team work. The experiment has three
different scenarios. The first one is that two children pull ropes together, but
one of the children gets 3 marbles while the other can only get one. The result
of this scenario shows that children will equalize their marbles around 75% of
the time. The second scenario is that 2 children will receive marbles. However, one
will have three times more marbles than the other one. The result of this
scenario shows that the one with more marbles will not give off their rewards
to the other one who has less marbles. The last scenario is that 2 children do
not pull the ropes together to get marbles. Nonetheless, one will get 3 marbles
for every pulling while the other can only get 1. In this case, the result
shows that about 30% of children would choose to equalize their marbles. I
believe the article overall want to use the example to show that procedural
fairness is more important than distributive fairness in economics.
An example I can think of is me and my best friend Phil. When I came to the states at the beginning, I didn’t have a car. Phil, on the other hand, had one. We both loved road trip and hiking. Thus, I will usually take care of the itinerary and accommodation, and Phil would drive. In this case, Phil provided the transportation to exchange for a well-
travel. I could also get a ride to the destination by doing the trip
preparation. The situation changed when I bought a car on sophomore year, since
we both had cars, we both were lazy to do the trip itinerary. This is similar
to the second scenario in the experiment that I mention above. Another good
example for this is definitely camping. I love going outdoor and hike through
all kinds of national parks. Usually I will go with bunch of friends. When I
get to our camping spot, some guys will do the tent sett-up, girls will usually
cover the food and BBQ preparation. I think the team production and gift
exchange in this case are we all do work that we are good at and share all
resources as a team.
However, team production with gift exchange can be somehow unfair.
Take group project as an example, in most of my experience of
doing group projects, there will always be 1 or 2 free riders who do minimal
work. But we all receive the same grade at the very end. Thus, as far as I am
concern, individual work may be more efficient than team work in particular situation.