Variations on Injustice: An Exploration of Responses to When Good (Bad) Things Happen to Bad (Good) People

Posted: 20 Jan 2015

See all articles by Jeff Galak

Jeff Galak

Carnegie Mellon University

Rosalind Chow

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business

Date Written: January 19, 2015

Abstract

People, in general, have a desire to live in a just world, a place where good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. And yet, injustices do occur: good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. Do people view these injustices as equally unjust, and how do they respond to the occurrence of these injustices? Across six experiments and more than 1,300 participants, we show that whereas people state that when bad things happen to good people, a greater injustice has transpired, they are more willing to act in a justice restorative manner when the opposite occurs, when good things happen to bad people. Moreover, we show that this is the result of differences in negative emotional responses to the two types of injustices. Specifically, when people see a bad thing happening to a good person, they state that a greater injustice has occurred, but they experience greater a negative emotional state when a good thing happens to a bad person and, in turn, donate more to a charity that explicitly acts in a justice restorative manner.

Suggested Citation

Galak, Jeff and Chow, Rosalind, Variations on Injustice: An Exploration of Responses to When Good (Bad) Things Happen to Bad (Good) People (January 19, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2552148

Jeff Galak (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-5810 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.jeffgalak.com

Rosalind Chow

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

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