Context-Dependency of Fairness Evaluations : Does Information About Inequalities Matter?

Francisco OLIVOS (Presenter), Minhui LIU (Presenter), Juan Carlos CASTILLO (Presenter)

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


Although robust evidence supports that evaluations' underlying logic is affected by observers' and objects’ characteristics, we have less knowledge of how these logics are affected by external information. A recent debate in cultural sociology provides clues to this question, suggesting that these elements of internalized personal culture are rather stable. We use a factorial-factorial survey to examine whether the cultural logics of distributive justice judgments are contingent on information. The data is gathered through an online experiment in China (N = 3,000). Besides the random assignment of a set of vignettes describing hypothetical individuals to evaluate the fairness of their earnings, we randomly assigned participants to one of the following conditions. First, we informed participants about the concentration of national wealth in comparison to other countries. This is regarded as "structural informational treatment." Second, individuals could receive a short story about a boy that became viral after his teacher posted a picture of him covered in snow while walking to his school in rural China. This is regarded as a "personal informational treatment." Third, individuals could receive a placebo. Our analyses examine how the exposition of different types of informational treatment could affect the cultural logic of distributive justice. We discuss how the research base in social justice can address the contingency of heuristics and provide insights into the debate on the stability of personal culture in cultural sociology.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2022
EventThe 5th International Chinese Sociological Association (ICSA) Annual Conference - Guangzhou , China
Duration: 16 Dec 202217 Dec 2022 (Conference page)


ConferenceThe 5th International Chinese Sociological Association (ICSA) Annual Conference
Internet address


  • Fairness evaluations
  • Information
  • Inequality
  • Factorial survey
  • China


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