Distributive and procedural justice in seven nations


The paper examines the impact of distributive justice and procedural justice variables on judgments in seven countries (Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Spain, and the United States). Subjects were presented with each of two experimental vignettes: one in which the actor unsuccessfully appeals being fired from his job and one in which the actor unsuccessfully goes to an employment agency to seek a job; they were asked to rate the justness of the outcome and how fairly the actor had been treated. The vignettes manipulated deservingness and need of the actor (distributive justice factors) and impartiality and voice in the hearing (procedural justice factors). Four hypotheses were tested: first, a distributive justice hypothesis that deservingness would be more important than need in these settings; second, a procedural justice hypothesis that the importance of voice and impartiality vary depending on the nature of the encounter and the forum in which it is resolved; third, because of their recent socialist experience, Central and Eastern European respondents make greater use of need information and less use of deservingness information than Western respondents; and fourth, that distributive justice and procedural justice factors interact. The distributive justice hypothesis is supported in both vignettes. The procedural justice hypothesis receives some support. Impartiality is more important in the first vignette and voice is more important in the second vignette. The interaction hypothesis was not supported in the first vignette, but does receive some support in the second vignette. The cultural hypothesis is not supported in either vignette. The implications for distributive and procedural justice research are discussed.



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Law and Human Behavior



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c 2000 American Psychology-Law Society/Division 41 of the American Psychology Association