Waste Aversion Reduces Inequity Aversion Among Chinese Children

Zhen Zhang*, Avi Benozio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


An underlying aspect of the development of fairness is the aversion to unequal treatment toward equally deserving parties. By middle childhood, children from Western cultures are even willing to discard resources to avoid inequity. Here, a series of four studies were conducted to assess the robustness of inequity aversion in a culture that emphasizes the value of “Thrift” (i.e., waste aversion). Seven-year-old Chinese participated in third-party (N = 83) and first-person (N = 116) distributive interactions and considered both inequity aversion and waste aversion. Our findings demonstrate that Chinese children accepted inequity (unlike Americans) in the presence of waste but avoided inequity (similar to Americans) in the absence of waste. Cultural and noncultural accounts of waste aversion are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2465-2477
Number of pages13
JournalChild Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Child Development © 2021 Society for Research in Child Development.


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