Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




In considering the different ways people view inequality and various proposed solutions,this study draws on classic psychological theories of distributive justice which outline three modes of allocation strategies: equality, equity, and need. While Deustch’s (1975) work on these three allocation alternatives laid the groundwork for years of distributive justice research that would follow, little empirical work has actually experimentally evaluated the conditions under which people might be more or less willing to support equity, equality, or need-based strategies. There is evidence that certain individual difference measures can predict support for redistribution. That is—those who rate highly on system justification, political orientation, or in personal wealth and income are less likely to support redistribution (García-Sánchez et al, 2018). Building upon existing literature, I developed three distinct policy solutions based in each of the three resource allocation strategies to address a problem of inequality and measured individual difference measures as predictors for support for each of the three allocation strategies. Level of disparity corrected by each policy was also manipulated into a high and moderate category. I found that those low in system justification are more likely to support need-based policy across disparity conditions and those high in system justification are likely to support need-based policy above equity and equality-based policy when there is high disparity but are least likely to support need-based policy when there is moderate or ambiguous disparity.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.