AdvisorMolm, Linda D.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study sheds new light on social psychological research on fairness by borrowing insights from social networks research and by incorporating the evolutionary approach. First, I propose the distinction between fairness in exchange based on local comparisons (e-fairness) and fairness in allocation based on referential comparisons (a-fairness). Early studies on fairness by social exchange theorists primarily considered exchange situations, but later on distributive justice researchers, considered allocation situations only. As a result, there is a certain discrepancy between the theories and the actual settings that researchers use (Cook and Hegtvedt 1983). Using the evolutionary approach resolves this confusion. The validity of this argument is explored by use of computer simulation. Second, I propose that there is a relationship between two comparison processes, local comparison and referential comparison. Because most of the empirical research focuses on either local comparison or referential comparison (Hegtvedt and Johnson 2000), this research is the first attempt to address the potential influence of referential comparison on local comparison. Specifically, I argue that referential comparison has a dampening effect on local comparison, and that this effect is stronger for across-group referential comparison than for within-group referential comparison. This argument is tested by the experimentally. By borrowing insights from social networks research, the macro-level implication of this study is drawn. According to Nakane (1970), patterns of cross-cutting ties characterize societies. One extreme is a vertical society (in which there are no cross-cutting ties between members of sub-groups), and the other extreme is a horizontal society (in which there are many cross-cutting ties). Since across-group referential comparison is more likely to occur in horizontal societies, given the same degree of objective inequality, we can expect that the degree of perceived unfairness will be higher in vertical societies than in horizontal societies. Thus, behavioral attempts to achieve fairness will also be higher in vertical societies. As a result, we can expect that social inequality is higher in horizontal societies than in vertical societies. This seems to be the case when we consider the United States and Japan.
Degree ProgramGraduate College