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Multiple earnings comparisons and subjective earnings fairness: A cross-country study


  • Tao, Hung-Lin


Earnings comparisons are defined by the earnings differential within the same social class, the parallel comparison, and the longitudinal comparison, which consists of the upward and downward comparisons. These three types of earnings comparisons are direct and significant determinants of the perception of earnings fairness. The influences of these three types of earnings comparisons on fairness perception vary with societal characteristics, such as the degree of corruption, income inequality, and unemployment. Of these three types of earnings comparisons, the group upward comparison is the most malleable to societal characteristics. Past studies on earnings fairness cannot explain workers’ strong feelings of injustice in the most recent recession, in which the unemployment rate has been high, but the strong feelings of injustice can be explained by the group upward comparison in this study.

Suggested Citation

  • Tao, Hung-Lin, 2015. "Multiple earnings comparisons and subjective earnings fairness: A cross-country study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 45-54.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:57:y:2015:i:c:p:45-54 DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2015.04.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Fairness; Upward comparison; Parallel comparison; Downward comparison;

    JEL classification:

    • J39 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Other


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