Are perceptions of fairness relationship-specific? The case of noblesse oblige

Fiddick, Laurence, and Cummins, Denise (2007) Are perceptions of fairness relationship-specific? The case of noblesse oblige. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60 (1). pp. 16-31.

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Research in experimental economics suggests that decision making in strategic interactions is often guided by a concern for fairness. However, experimental economics studies routinely place participants of equal social status and no prior social history in anonymous interactions, a context that would tend to foster the adoption of an egalitarian fairness norm. Extensive research in anthropology (Fiske, 1991) and psychology (Bugental, 2000) suggests that social norms, including fairness norms, are relationship-specific, raising doubts about whether the concern for egalitarian fairness observed in the experimental economics literature would generalize to a wider range of social relations. In this paper we focus on an alternative social norm characteristic of hierarchical relationships: noblesse oblige—the obligation of high-ranking individuals to act honorably and beneficently towards subordinates. In a series of five experiments, we show that the norm of noblesse oblige predicts tolerance of free riding better than individual self-interest does.

Item ID: 2760
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1747-0226
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2009 04:14
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 100%
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