Social Justice Research

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 195–215 | Cite as

The Interplay Between Greed, Efficiency, and Fairness in Public-Goods Dilemmas

Abstract

The Greed–Efficiency–Fairness hypothesis (H. A. M. Wilke, In European Review of Social Psychology, Wiley, New York, Vol. 2, pp. 165–187, 1991) states that people in resource dilemmas are greedy and wish to defect, but that greed is constrained by preferences for efficient resource use and fair distributions. This paper reviews research where the GEF hypothesis was generalized to public-goods dilemmas. Results from both surveys and experiments on people's willingness to contribute to resources for social services were interpreted in light of the GEF hypothesis. Whereas earlier research on social dilemmas and fairness considerations have focused on the correlation between estimated fair and actual cooperation rates, the present results provide an extension where cooperation rates are influenced by perceived fairness of how a resource is distributed. Two experiments contribute further insights into the interplay, in terms of effects on cooperation, between greed, efficiency, and fairness. The collective consequences of individual choices were either highlighted or not (Experiment 1) and the outcome structure in prior social dilemma tasks was either collectively or individually framed (Experiment 2). These manipulations influenced (a) cooperation rates and (b) the extent to which decisions were based on greed, efficiency, or fairness.

social dilemmas cooperation greed efficiency fairness distributive justice 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGöteborg UniversityGöteborgSweden
  2. 2.Department of Behavioral SciencesUniversity of SkövdeSkövdeSweden

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