Social Justice Research

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 351–369

Understanding gender differences in distributive and procedural justice

  • Carol T. Kulik
  • E. Allan Lind
  • Maurice L. Ambrose
  • Robert J. MacCoun

DOI: 10.1007/BF02196990

Cite this article as:
Kulik, C.T., Lind, E.A., Ambrose, M.L. et al. Soc Just Res (1996) 9: 351. doi:10.1007/BF02196990


Gender differences in treatment and in judgments of distributive and procedural justice were examined. Three hundred nine litigants who had been involved in arbitrated auto negligence lawsuits responded to exit surveys. Two mechanisms by which gender might influence justice perceptions were explored. First, we examined whether a “chivalry bias” might be operating, in which the procedures systematically favor women over men. If such biases occur, women might feel they had been treated more fairly because of egocentric biases. Results provided only modest support for the chivalry bias. While women received slightly better awards and perceived somewhat more control than men, these differences had no effect on perceptions of distributive or procedural justice. Second, we examined whether men and women differ systematically in the factors they use as indicators of distributive and procedural justice. On the basis of group-value theory we predicted that women might place more emphasis on standing or on outcome favorability. The study revealed that men and women did differ in how they defined distributive justice, with women placing more emphasis on their perceived standing and on their perceptions of the favorability of their outcomes. There were no substantial gender differences in how procedural justice was defined. Results are interpreted in terms of how women might be responding to insecurity about facing a justice system historically dominated by men.

Key Words

justicearbitrationgenderprocedural justicedistributive justice

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol T. Kulik
    • 1
  • E. Allan Lind
    • 2
  • Maurice L. Ambrose
    • 3
  • Robert J. MacCoun
    • 4
  1. 1.University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbana
  2. 2.Fuqua School of BusinessDuke UniversityDurham
  3. 3.University of Colorado at BoulderBoulder
  4. 4.Graduate School of Public PolicyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkley
  5. 5.Duke UniversityDurham