Gender differences in distributive justice: The role of self-presentation revisited


Kidder, Bellettirie, and Cohn's [(1977) “Secret Ambitions and Public Performances: The Effects of Anonymity on Reward Allocations Made by Men and Women,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 13, pp. 70–80] self-presentational account of gender differences in distributive justice was examined. Men and women attending two, primarily white, northeastern universities distributed a jointly earned reward between themselves and a hypothetical co-worker who was either a stranger or a friend and whose inferior task performance resulted from either low ability or low effort. Subjects made their allocations under both public and private conditions. Men allocated more equitably (i.e., according to co-worker input) in public than women did, whereas women allocated more equitably in private than men did, only when working with strangers who exerted low effort. In addition, among female subjects, private allocations to low-effort strangers were more equitable than public allocations. Among male subjects, however, public allocations to low-effort strangers were more equitable than private allocations. The conditions under which men make equitable allocations and women make equal allocations, and possible reasons for these differences, are discussed.

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Sex Roles



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