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Perceptions of Equity across Cultures and over Time: A Questionnaire-Experimental Approach


We discuss the results of investigations where students from several countries were confronted with questionnaires describing hypothetical situations. All situations start from the preference structure which underlies an equity axiom based on Rawls’s difference principle. We ask whether respondents satisfy the equity axiom by supporting the worst-offs and how often they revise their initial decision when more people join the side of the more advantaged. Moreover, we control for context-dependency and investigate whether there are major differences across countries and cultures. The available data also allow us to consider changes of justice evaluations over time.

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  1. The entire questionnaire is available from the authors or in Gaertner and Jungeilges (2002).

  2. For more details, see Gaertner (1994), Gaertner et al. (2001), Gaertner and Jungeilges (2002), Gaertner and Schwettmann (2007), Schwettmann (2009).

  3. The relevant results for situation 1 are reported in Gaertner and Schwettmann (2007).


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Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 64th Congress of the IIPF, Maastricht, 22–25 August 2008; the 23rd Annual Conference of the European Economic Association and the 63rd European Meeting of the Econometric Society, Milan, 27–31 August 2008; the Annual Meeting of the German Economic Association, Graz, 23–26 September 2008; the 67th International Atlantic Economic Conference, Rome, 11–14 March 2009; and the Annual Meeting of the Austrian Economic Association, Linz, 22–23 May 2009. Comments from participants at these conferences and from an anonymous referee are gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Reinhard Neck.

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Gaertner, W., Neck, R. & Schwettmann, L. Perceptions of Equity across Cultures and over Time: A Questionnaire-Experimental Approach. Int Adv Econ Res 17, 1–11 (2011).

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