Individual notions of distributive justice and relative economic status
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Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit
University of Cape Town
We present two experiments designed to investigate whether individuals notions of distributive justice are associated with their relative (within-society) economic status. Each participant played a specially designed four-person dictator game under one of two treatments, under one initial endowments were earned, under the other they were randomly assigned. The first experiment was conducted in Oxford, United Kingdom, the second in Cape Town, South Africa. In both locations we found that relatively well-off individuals make allocations to others that reflect those others initial endowments more when those endowments were earned rather than random; among relatively poor individuals this was not the case.