Conceptions of Justice/Fairness Scale

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This page is for interested and knowledgable psychology researchers to brainstorm on how to create an individual difference measure that allows us to study what people believe is fair and just. Feel free to edit things, though not all edits will be accepted or put into the final scale. There is a discussion page here for interested parties to talk about items as well.


Factors/Concepts of Fairness/Justice

I'm not a "justice researcher" (Ravi), so I may miss something, but looking at items and articles, I've identified 5 possible factors, which could also be heirarchically represented as follows...

- Procedural Justice - "how should we decide who gets what"

- Distributive Justice - "who should get what"

-- Equality - "everyone should get the same amount"

-- Need - "people who need more should get more"

-- Equity - "people who contribute more should get more"

--- Effort - "contributions are defined by putting in more work"

--- Ability/Product - "contributions are defined by ability/objective worth of end product"

So given these constructs, I feel like the next step is to look at existing measures and see which constructs are represented.

Existing scales

Here we can look at existing scales and comment on which factors items might load addition to those factors from the above section, items might be open to interpretation and load on the general "fairness/justice" idea that a person has in their head at that time. So a person who believes in equality will actually be answering a different question than someone who believes in equity when asked "is this fair?".

Moral Foundations Questionnaire

This is the Haidt/Graham measure that is available at and..

Procedural Justice If we are to fight crime effectively, some people's rights will have to be violated.

General Justice, fairness and equality are the most important requirements for a society.

General When the government makes laws, the number one principle should be ensuring that everyone is treated fairly.

Equity vs. Equality I think it's morally wrong that rich children inherit a lot of money while poor children inherit nothing.

General Whether or not someone was denied his or her rights

General Whether or not someone acted unfairly

Equality Whether or not some people were treated differently than others

Procedural Justice Whether or not someone tried to control or dominate someone else

Preference for the Merit Principle Scale

This scale is by (Davey, Bobocel, San Hing, Zanna 1999).

Equality, neg equity - In work organizations, each employee ought to be named employee of the month at least once, even if he or she is not deserving. (R)

Equity (ability + effort) - In organizations, people who do their job well ought to rise to the top.

Procedural Justice - It is wrong for an employee to give a job to someone they know without advertising the job to other candidates.

General Fairness (ambiguous) - In life, people ought to get what they deserve.

Equity (effort) - The effort a worker puts into a job ought to be reflected in the size of a raise he or she receives.

Equality - When students are working on a group project, each member of the group ought to receive the same grade regardless of the amount of effort each team member puts in. (R)

Equity (effort) - Promotion decisions ought to take into account the effort workers put into their job.

Equity (effort + ability), Equality - Members of a work team ought to receive different pay depending on the amount each person contributed.

Need - Sometimes it is appropriate to give a raise to the worker who most needs it, even if he or she is not the most hard working. (R)

Equity (ability) - Qualifications ought to be given more weight than seniority when making promotion decisions.

Equity (effort) - Between two equally smart students applying for the same job, the one who is the harder worker ought to always get the job.

Equality - When a bonus is given to a work team for good performance, the money ought to always be divided equally among the group members. (R)

Need (Rev) - It is never appropriate to choose which student to hire by how much the student needs the job.

Equity (ability/product) (Rev) - People ought to be able to get away with poor quality work under some circumstances. (R)

Equity (effort) - If every person in an office has the same abilities, the promotion ought to always be given to the person who puts in the most effort.

Experiment in The Justice Motive

From The Justice Motive In Adolescence And Young Adulthood: Origins and Consequences By Claudia Dalbert, Hedvig Sallay

They gave students a short vignette about students who received the same number of points in a dictation in their native language and asked whether...

Equality Both should receive the same grade.

Need The student who needs a better grade to move up to the next year should receive a better grade.

Equity The student who made more of an effort should receive the better grade.

The Uber Justice/Fairness Scale

This section is for us to figure out what would be the best scale to figure out these factors of justice/fairness using a combination of existing and new scale items. There may be more factors as this document evolves, but right now, I'm going to try to capture 5.

Procedural Justice

Distributive Justice - Equality

Distributive Justice - Need

Distributive Justice - Equity - Effort

Distributive Justice - Equity - Ability/Production

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