The Development of Inequity Aversion: Understanding When (and Why) People Give Others the Bigger Piece of the Pie

Alex Shaw*, Shoham Choshen-Hillel, Eugene M. Caruso

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Children and adults respond negatively to inequity. Traditional accounts of inequity aversion suggest that as children mature into adults, they become less likely to endorse all forms of inequity. We challenge the idea that children have a unified concern with inequity that simply becomes stronger with age. Instead, we argue that the developmental trajectory of inequity aversion depends on whether the inequity is seen as fair or unfair. In three studies (N = 501), 7- to 8-year-olds were more likely than 4- to 6-year-olds to create inequity that disadvantaged themselves—a fair type of inequity. In findings consistent with our theory, 7- to 8-year-olds were not more likely than 4- to 6-year-olds to endorse advantageous inequity (Study 1) or inequity created by third parties (Studies 2 and 3)—unfair types of inequity. We discuss how these results expand on recent accounts of children’s developing concerns with generosity and partiality.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1352-1359
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Volume27
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.

Keywords

  • fairness
  • generosity
  • inequity aversion
  • open data
  • open materials
  • partiality
  • social cognitive development

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