Skip to main content
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 72
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Li, Meng Colby, Helen A. and Fernbach, Philip 2018. Efficiency for Lives, Equality for Everything Else. Social Psychological and Personality Science, p. 194855061878370.

    Pilotti, Maura A. E. and Alaoui, Khadija El 2018. Multilingualism and Bilingualism.

    Liu, Yingjie Li, Lin Zheng, Li and Guo, Xiuyan 2017. Punish the Perpetrator or Compensate the Victim? Gain vs. Loss Context Modulate Third-Party Altruistic Behaviors. Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 8, Issue. ,

    Gordon-Hecker, Tom Choshen-Hillel, Shoham Shalvi, Shaul and Bereby-Meyer, Yoella 2017. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Fairness, Equity, and Justice. p. 93.

    Bălău, Nicoleta and Utz, Sonja 2017. Information sharing as strategic behaviour: the role of information display, social motivation and time pressure. Behaviour & Information Technology, Vol. 36, Issue. 6, p. 589.

    Noval, Laura J. and Hernandez, Morela 2017. The Unwitting Accomplice: How Organizations Enable Motivated Reasoning and Self-Serving Behavior. Journal of Business Ethics,

    Malti, Tina Gummerum, Michaela Ongley, Sophia Chaparro, Maria Nola, Marta and Bae, Na Young 2016. “Who is worthy of my generosity?” Recipient characteristics and the development of children’s sharing. International Journal of Behavioral Development, Vol. 40, Issue. 1, p. 31.

    Suleiman, Ramzi 2016. The Role of Trust in Conflict Resolution. p. 23.

    Robbennolt, Jennifer K. and Hans, Valerie P. 2016. Advances in Psychology and Law. Vol. 1, Issue. , p. 249.

    Artinger, Florian Petersen, Malte Gigerenzer, Gerd and Weibler, Jürgen 2015. Heuristics as adaptive decision strategies in management. Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 36, Issue. S1, p. S33.

    Neth, Hansjörg and Gigerenzer, Gerd 2015. Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. p. 1.

    Liebig, Stefan Sauer, Carsten and Friedhoff, Stefan 2015. Using Factorial Surveys to Study Justice Perceptions: Five Methodological Problems of Attitudinal Justice Research. Social Justice Research, Vol. 28, Issue. 4, p. 415.

    Fiske, Susan T. and De Dreu, Carsten K. W. 2014. Negotiating Deals and Settling Conflict Can Create Value for Both Sides. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Vol. 1, Issue. 1, p. 156.

    Dubljević, Veljko and Racine, Eric 2014. The ADC of Moral Judgment: Opening the Black Box of Moral Intuitions With Heuristics About Agents, Deeds, and Consequences. AJOB Neuroscience, Vol. 5, Issue. 4, p. 3.

    Zhu, Liqi Gigerenzer, Gerd Huangfu, Gang and Krueger, Frank 2013. Psychological Traces of China's Socio-Economic Reforms in the Ultimatum and Dictator Games. PLoS ONE, Vol. 8, Issue. 8, p. e70769.

    MERRIMAN, KIMBERLY K. MASLYN, JOHN and FARMER, STEVEN M. 2012. An Inter- and Intraindividual Perspective of the Substitutability of Fairness Rules for Trust Within Teams. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Vol. 42, Issue. 4, p. 850.

    Gigerenzer, Gerd and Sturm, Thomas 2012. How (far) can rationality be naturalized?. Synthese, Vol. 187, Issue. 1, p. 243.

    Johnson, Eric J. Shu, Suzanne B. Dellaert, Benedict G. C. Fox, Craig Goldstein, Daniel G. Häubl, Gerald Larrick, Richard P. Payne, John W. Peters, Ellen Schkade, David Wansink, Brian and Weber, Elke U. 2012. Beyond nudges: Tools of a choice architecture. Marketing Letters, Vol. 23, Issue. 2, p. 487.

    de Kwaadsteniet, Erik W. and van Dijk, Eric 2012. A social-psychological perspective on tacit coordination: How it works, when it works, (and when it does not). European Review of Social Psychology, Vol. 23, Issue. 1, p. 187.

    Leliveld, Marijke C. Dijk, Eric and Beest, Ilja 2012. Punishing and compensating others at your own expense: The role of empathic concern on reactions to distributive injustice. European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 42, Issue. 2, p. 135.

  • Print publication year: 1993
  • Online publication date: October 2009

Equality as a decision heuristic



In this chapter I propose to examine the concept of equality or equal division as a heuristic that is used to facilitate decision making in situations involving the allocation of goods and bads. The kinds of situations that I have in mind involve two or more people who must share resources, responsibilities, or liabilities. This is the same class of situations about which much has been written from the point of view of ethical theories of distributive justice (e.g., Nozick, 1947; Rawls, 1971) and from the psychological perspective of equity theory (Adams, 1965; Messick & Cook, 1983; Walster, Berscheid, & Walster, 1973). This chapter does not deal with ethical issues per se and it pertains to equity theory and related concepts only insofar as equity theory is viewed as the outcome or product of a certain type of social decision making. The focus of the chapter is the individual cognitive processes involved when a person must make a decision about how some resource or cost should be allocated. I propose that the idea of equality has properties that make it a useful guideline or benchmark in making allocation decisions. It will become obvious that the use of equality as a decision heuristic does not imply that such decisions are simpleminded or uninteresting. On the contrary, they can be quite intricate.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Psychological Perspectives on Justice
  • Online ISBN: 9780511552069
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *