What Is Just to Whom in Europe? The Justice of Earnings and Inequality Across 29 Countries

About this Session


Fri. 08.04. 15:45



Speaker: Cristóbal Moya

Increasing social inequalities throughout Europe have raised concerns over political stability and the future of democracies. How individuals evaluate inequalities and their own earnings in terms of justice is of particular relevance given that injustice evaluations can result in social conflicts, social unrest, and political turmoil. In contrast, a society where income and economic inequality (independently of their level) are deemed just will foster social cohesion. In this paper, we focus on the profiles of (in)justice evaluations about income and wealth inequalities across Europe to assess what underlying patters of (in)justice in these regards emerge and what determines leaning towards each of them. By using the ninth round of the European Social Survey, which contains a unique set of justice evaluations about income and wealth across 29 European countries, we distinguish four (in)justice profiles: the critics, the altruists, the deprived, and the status quo supporters. These groups differ in terms of if and where they perceive injustice in the income and wealth distributions. Most respondents are either critics, who consider all dimensions unjust and support redistribution, or altruists, who assess their own situation as just but the societal income and wealth differences as unjust. The four groups exhibit different preferences for redistribution, and there is strong variation in their relative prevalence within countries. Given the (mis)fit of justice profiles with different redistribution measures (UBI, tax reforms, etc.), we propose that social policy design should consider the justice profiles within a population.