The Psychological Consequences of Perceived Social Unfairness

Research question/goal: 

The proposal focuses on perceived unfairness and inequality in society. The underlying assumptions hold that perceived unfairness is not fully determined by objective parameters (e.g., income, access to resources), but is strongly affected by cognitive aspects (e.g., information accessibility, comparison standards). The research addresses primarily how perceived unfairness is linked to psychological variables, such as subjective well-being, trust, attitudes towards redistributive tax policies, or investments in the future. Moreover, the proposed research concentrates on how associations between perceived unfairness and the outlined variables are moderated (a) by further psychological aspects (e.g., individuals’ tendencies towards system justification) and (b) by structural aspects. To address this latter aspect, comparisons across nations are planned that differ with respect to structural aspects. The research combines analyses of existing large data sets with complementary experimental studies that focus on the potential causal relation between the investigated variables (by experimentally manipulating perceived inequality).

The general assumptions of this proposal will in the future be further pursued in a broader context in new project that investigates the antecedents and consequences of (financial) inequality.

Fact sheet

2015 to 2019
Data Sources: 
existing large data sets, in particular ALLBUS, European Social Survey as well as data from own experiments
Geographic Space: 
Germany, Europe