We implement the Rawlsian thought experiment of a veil of ignorance in the laboratory which introduces risk and possibly social preferences. We find that both men and women react to the risk introduced by the veil of ignorance. Only the women additionally exhibit social preferences that reflect an increased concern for equality. Our results for women imply that maximin preferences can also be derived from a combination of some, not necessarily infinite risk aversion and social preferences. This result contrasts the Utilitarians' claim that maximin preferences necessarily represent preferences with infinite risk aversion.
veil of ignorance social preferences equality efficiency experiment