Social Justice Research

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 27–45 | Cite as

Benefits and burdens: Does it really matterWhat we allocate?

  • Gregory B. Northcraft
  • Margaret A. Neale
  • Ann Tenbrunsel
  • Melissa Thomas


There is growing, evidence that allocation decisions concerning burdens and benefits are not processed equivalently. This paper suggests three dimensions on which information processing for resource allocations differs: status quo effects (individuals react more strongly to losses in status quo than to gains), resource valence effects (individuals react more strongly to resource allocations involving burdens than those involving benefits), and blame effects (individuals react more strongly to resource allocation decisions in which they exercise choice). Results of an empirical study confirm significant differences in the information processing of burdens and benefits, and also confirm the importance of psychological distance in the reactions of individuals to burdens and benefits allocations.

Key Words

resource allocation status quo effects resource valence effects blame effects 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory B. Northcraft
    • 1
    • 2
  • Margaret A. Neale
    • 3
  • Ann Tenbrunsel
    • 4
  • Melissa Thomas
    • 5
  1. 1.College of Commerce and Business AdministrationUniversity of IllinoisChampaign
  2. 2.Institute of Labor and Industrial RelationsUniversity of IllinoisChampaign
  3. 3.Graduate School of BusinessStanford UniversityPalo Alto
  4. 4.Graduate School of BusinessNotre Dame UniversitySouth Bend
  5. 5.Kellogg Graduate School of ManagementNorthwestern UniversityEvanston

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