Doesn't matter if it's fair…as long as you win

Published on Jul 19, 2019in Science41.063
· DOI :10.1126/SCIENCE.365.6450.245-P
Aaron Clauset33
Estimated H-index: 33
Social Sciences In a world of increasing economic inequality, how does the public perceive the causes and fairness of wealth disparity? To measure the effect of unequal outcomes on individual perceptions of fairness and inequality, Molina et al. devised a card game that separates the equality of opportunity from game outcomes, player skill, and luck. In this setting, players who were dealt a great hand were more likely to (incorrectly) attribute their winnings to their own talent rather than to external factors such as luck or structural advantages. Winning players were also more likely to view the game as fair and feel positively about the game, even when the rules were tilted in their favor. Thus, perceptions of unequal outcomes, such as wealth inequality, are biased, making efforts to equalize opportunities in social or economic systems complicated. As it turns out, “it's not just how the game is played, it's whether you win or lose.” Sci. Adv. 10.1126/sciadv.aau1156 (2019).
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