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Over the last few years, legal scholars, policy-makers,
activists and others have generated a vast and
rapidly expanding literature concerning the ethical
ramifications of using artificial intelligence,
machine learning, big data and predictive software
in criminal justice contexts. These concerns can be
clustered under the headings of fairness,
accountability and transparency. First, can we trust
technology to be fair, especially given that the
data on which the technology is based are biased in
various ways? Second, whom can we blame if the
technology goes wrong, as it inevitably will on
occasion? Finally, does it matter if we do not know
how an algorithm works or, relatedly, cannot
understand how it reached its decision? I argue
that, while these are serious concerns, they are not
irresolvable. More importantly, the very same
concerns of fairness, accountability and
transparency apply, with even greater urgency, to
existing modes of decision-making in criminal
justice. The question, hence, is comparative: can
algorithmic modes of decision-making improve upon
the status quo in criminal justice? There is
unlikely to be a categorical answer to this
question, although there are some reasons for
Although psychologists have paid scant attention to the sense of obligation as a distinctly human motivation, moral philosophers have identified two of its key features: first, it has a peremptory, demanding force, with a kind of coercive quality, and second, it is often tied to agreement-like social interactions (e.g., promises) in which breaches prompt normative protest, on the one side, and apologies, excuses, justifications, and guilt, on the other. Drawing on empirical research in comparative and developmental psychology, we provide here a psychological foundation for these unique features by showing that the human sense of obligation is intimately connected developmentally with the formation of a shared agent “we”, which not only directs collaborative efforts but also self-regulates them. Thus, children's sense of obligation is first evident inside, but not outside, of collaborative activities structured by joint agency with a partner, and it is later evident in attitudes toward in-group, but not out-group, members connected by collective agency. When you and I voluntarily place our fate in one another's hands in interdependent collaboration - scaled up to our lives together in an interdependent cultural group - this transforms the instrumental pressure that individuals feel when pursuing individual goals into the pressure that "we" put on me (who needs to preserve my cooperative identity in this “we”) to live up to our shared expectations: a we>me self-regulation. The human sense of obligation may thus be seen as a kind of self-conscious motivation.
Do people judge some forms of wage discrimination to be more unfair than others? We report an experiment in an online labor market in which participants were paid based on discriminatory rules. We test hypotheses about fairness based on procedural justice, divisiveness, and affective polarization between partisans. Workers transcribed text and then learned that they earned more or less money than other workers for doing the same job. We manipulated whether the unequal pay was based on their political party, eye color, or an arbitrary choice between two doors. Consistent with the divisiveness hypothesis, participants judged discriminatory pay to be less fair when it was based on a stable characteristic, political party, or eye color, compared to a transient choice (between doors). We find mixed evidence about how affective polarization exacerbates the unfairness of partisan discrimination. We discuss implications for the procedural justice of wage discrimination.
This article argues that diverse theorists have reasons to theorize about fairness in nonideal conditions, including theorists who reject fairness in ideal theory. It then develops a new all-purpose model of ‘nonideal fairness’. Section 1 argues that fairness is central to nonideal theory across diverse ideological and methodological frameworks. Section 2 then argues that ‘nonideal fairness’ is best modeled by a nonideal original position adaptable to different nonideal conditions and background normative frameworks (including anti-Rawlsian ones). Section 3 argues that the parties to the model have grounds to seek a variety of remedial social, legal, cultural, and economic ‘nonideal primary goods’ for combating injustice as well as grounds to distribute these goods in an equitable and inclusive manner. Finally, I illustrate how the model indexes the nonideal primary goods it justifies to different nonideal contexts and background normative frameworks, illustrating why diverse theorists should find the model and its output principles attractive.
This article studies local processes of policy feedback by analysing citizens’ fairness perceptions of public childcare fees in a German town. Employing an experimental vignette study, we uncover complex feedback effects: first, citizens in the study regard a fee level as fair that is close to the actual fee level in the city, suggesting self-reinforcing feedback effects. Second, citizens strongly support a fee structure in which fees vary according to parental income. As this preferred fee structure differs from the local fee structure in the town itself, we interpret the citizens’ preference as evidence for self-undermining policy feedback. Finally, the actual characteristics of the respondents matter less than the fictitious characteristics of the parents in the vignettes, which points to the importance of interpretive rather than resource-based feedback effects. In concluding, we highlight the relevance of these findings for broader debates about policy feedback.
Progressive taxation is an effective redistributive tool in times of growing inequality. However, like all public policies, an increase in tax progressivity is unlikely if it lacks popular demand. Has the financial crisis affected the demand for progressive taxation? Building on research that has identified fairness beliefs as the main factor pushing for taxes on the rich, I argue that the Great Recession and states’ reactions to it have caused a general shift in tax policy preferences. As a consequence, demand for tax progressivity is higher in crisis countries. Multilevel analyses using survey data for 32 countries show support for my argument. These findings have important implications for our understanding of the politics of redistribution in the 21st century.
Using dual-entitlement theory as the guide, we conducted a survey of economists from the National Bureau of Economic Research asking them a series of questions about the fairness of drug prices in the United States. Public opinion surveys have repeatedly shown that the public perceives drug prices to be unfair, but economists trained in laws of supply and demand may have different perceptions. Three hundred and ten senior economists responded to our survey. Forty-five percent agreed that drug prices were unfair when people, specifically low-income individuals, could not afford their prescription medications. Sixty-five percent oppose a dollar threshold, or upper limit, on drug prices. The economists recommend the most promising policy change would be to provide the government additional negotiating power and price controls would moderately impact investment in pharmaceutical research and development.
Infants begin to understand some of the meanings of the adjective good at around thirteen months, but it is not clear when they start to map it to concepts in the moral domain. We investigated infants’ and toddlers’ knowledge of good in the domains of help and fairness. Participants at 20 and 30 months were shown computer animations involving helpful and hindering agents, or agents who performed fair or unfair distributions, and were asked to “pick the good one”. Toddlers at 30 months took good as referring to helping, but not to the fair agents. However, when asked “to pick one”, they choose the fair distributor. These findings suggest that by 30 months toddlers have started to map good to some socio-moral features, such as a helping disposition, but not to fairness in distributive actions.
A large body of social science consistently documents race differences in the U.S. criminal justice system and in related perceptions of justice. It is now beyond dispute that the criminal justice system is racialized in a plethora of ways that have consequences for how people perceive justice. Another vast body of literature documents the importance of perceptions of procedural justice in people’s satisfaction with dispute management and outcomes. Informed by these two well-established literatures, we draw on original quantitative and qualitative data, including a random sample of interviews with 120 men in three California prisons, to present an empirical analysis of prisoners’ experiences with the prisoner grievance system, their level of satisfaction with the process and outcomes of that system, and their perceptions of fairness. We find an absence of race effects regarding how fairly they say they have been treated in the past by the criminal justice system and in how they assess justice in the prisoner grievance system in particular. Specifically, we find that: 1) male prisoners’ perceptions of whether the overall criminal justice system has been fair to them in the past does not vary by race in statistically significant ways; and 2) the dominance of substantive grievance outcomes over procedural elements in prisoners’ satisfaction holds regardless of racial self-identification. We explain these findings by arguing that prison may perversely level the attitudinal gap among those who are subject to this profound experience of state power.
Four recent books, taken together, offer a wealth of important insights on how we might effectively tackle corruption. All of the books’ authors agree that there is something akin to a universal understanding of what corruption is, and all dispute the idea that corruption may simply be in the eye of the beholder. However, there are also sharp disagreements—for example over whether corruption is best eliminated from the top down, or whether bottom-up approaches are more effective. If the books share one weakness, it is that they do not sufficiently emphasize the importance of getting people to believe and feel that they have fair opportunities for good lives, even after institutional and legal reforms are made. Tackling corruption involves taking seriously the substantive link between actual fair treatment and the belief that fair treatment prevails. This will require further research examining how to shift and update people’s deeply held sentiments.
Robert Nozick allegedly introduced his liberal theory of private ownership as an objection to theories of end-state justice. Nevertheless, we show that, in a stylized framework for the allocation of goods in joint ventures, both approaches can be seen as complementary. More precisely, in such a context, self-ownership (the basis for Nozick’s entitlement theory of justice) followed by voluntary transfer (Nozick’s principle of just transfer) can lead to end-state fairness (as well as Pareto efficiency). Furthermore, under a certain solidarity condition, the only way to achieve end-state fairness, following Nozick’s procedure, is to endorse an egalitarian rule for the initial assignment of rights.
When it is most fair for a claimant to receive a particular chance of benefiting (e.g. 50%) but they instead receive a different chance of benefiting (e.g. 40%), this lower chance is not ideally fair. I specify the often-overlooked type of individual unfairness evident in differences of this kind and argue for four intuitively supported criteria that a measure of this unfairness must meet. I defend the Asymmetrical Proportional View, which meets these criteria and is a measure of how individually unfair any particular difference of this kind is. Finally I conclude with the View's implications for theories of distributive fairness.
This article is concerned with s. 61 of the Trustee Act 1925. It will analyse the origins, design and modern day operation of the jurisdiction to relieve a trustee from personal liability following a breach of trust. It will revisit the threshold conditions of honesty, reasonableness and fairness and, in the context of mortgage fraud, contend that this exculpatory jurisdiction ought not extend to the bare commercial trust that exists between the mortgagee and its solicitor. Defects, uncertainties and shortcomings associated with s. 61 will also be addressed.
We extend the behavioral ethics literature to examining emotional labor as an antecedent to unethical behavior. We hypothesize that surface acting is positively associated with unethical behavior. In contrast, we produce competing hypotheses for the relationship between deep acting and unethical behavior. In Study 1, with a field sample of 123 full-time employees, surface acting was positively associated with unethical behavior, and emotional inauthenticity explained some of this relationship. In contrast, deep acting was not associated with unethical behavior. In Study 2, with a field sample of 117 full-time employees, we replicated the effect of surface acting in Study 1 and found a positive relationship between deep acting and unethical behavior via emotional inauthenticity. In Study 3, using a two-wave design, we replicated the results in Study 2 and found perceived fairness strengthens the relationship between surface acting and unethical behavior through emotional inauthenticity.
We integrate recent findings from the linguistics literature with the organizational justice literature to examine how the language used to encode justice violations influences fairness perceptions. The study focused on the use of non-agentive syntax to encode mistakes in Spanish (“The vase was broken”) versus using agentive syntax in English (“She broke the vase”) influences event fairness perceptions. We hypothesized that when justice violations are encoded using Spanish, because the non-agentive syntax makes the responsible party less salient, the event would be perceived as less unfair. In Study 1 (n = 111), English-speaking participants rated the fairness of an event in which a mistake was made and an employee received a negative outcome. They rated it as more unfair (p < .01, η2 = .06) when the scenario was presented in agentive syntax. Experiment 2 (n = 70) used native English- and Spanish-speakers who watched a video of manager making a mistake. We found that Spanish-speakers used less agentive syntax (p < .01, η2 = .21), perceived the event as less unfair (p < .001, η2 = .23), and were more willing to help the manager who made the mistake. In Experiment 3 (n = 101) we replicated this effect controlling for cross-cultural differences and native language; further, we found an interaction between entity fairness (event vs. entity) and native language (Spanish vs. English) on citizenship intentions (p < .01, η2 = .08). These results extend our understanding of how language may influence relevant workplace attitudes.
Healthcare technology assessment (HTA) aims to support decisions as to which technologies should be used in which situations to optimize value. Because such decisions will create winners and losers, they are bound to be controversial. HTA, then, faces a dilemma: should it stay away from such controversies, remaining a source of incomplete advice and risking an important kind of marginalization, or should it enter the controversy? The question is a challenging one, because we lack agreement on principles that are fine grained enough to tell us what choices we should make. In this study, we will argue that HTA should take a stand on ethical issues raised by the technology that is being investigated. To do so, we propose adding a form of procedural justice to HTA to arrive at decisions that the public can regard as legitimate and fair. A fair process involves deliberation about the reasons, evidence, and rationales that are considered relevant to meeting population-health needs fairly. One important way to make sure that there is real deliberation about relevant reasons is to include a range of stakeholders in the deliberative process. To illustrate how such deliberation might work, we use the case of cochlear implants for deaf children.
This paper employs survey experiments to examine how contextualizing the claims made in negative political advertising affects perceptions of their fairness. This has implications for the components of fairness judgments, e.g., if “truth” is a component of fairness, being informed that a claim is untrue should undermine perceptions of its fairness, as well as for the efficacy of “fact-checking.” Our experiments on a random national telephone sample show some effects of being informed that a claim is untrue but few if it is characterized as taken out of context or as irrelevant. These findings imply that: (a) while evaluations of the truth of claims appear to be a component of fairness, considerations such as whether claims are the “whole story” or “relevant” to the decision at hand do not, and (b) contextualizing of the claims of ads in fact-checks has very little impact on perceptions of their fairness.
This paper develops a Multidimensional Decision Theory and argues that it better captures ordinary intuitions about fair distribution of chances than classical decision theory. The theory is an extension of Richard Jeffrey’s decision theory to counterfactual prospect and is a form of Modal Consequentialism, according to which the value of actual outcomes often depends on what could have been. Unlike existing versions of modal consequentialism, the multidimensional decision theory allows us to explicitly model the desirabilistic dependencies between actual and counterfactual outcomes that, I contend, are at the heart of common intuitions about fair distribution of chances.