Justice under uncertainty

Uncertain outcomes are an inevitable feature of policy choices and their public support often depends on their perceived justice. We theoretically and experimentally explore just allocations when recipients are exposed to certainty and uncertainty. In the experiment, uninvolved participants unequivocally choose to allocate resources equally between recipients, when there is certainty. In stark contrast, with uncertainty just allocations are widely dispersed and recipients exposed to higher degrees of uncertainty are allocated less. The observed allocations can be well organized by four different theoretical views of justice, indicating that uninvolved participants differ fundamentally in their views on justice under uncertainty.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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