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Article - post-print

Publication Date



Mounting empirical research provides evidence of fairness bias and its economic and social effects, where fairness bias refers here to a deviation of claims from unbiased justice due to a personal stake. A far less appreciated issue is dispersion of fairness views and claims, which is also important for its effects on disagreements, empirical analysis, and philosophical theories. This study undertakes a systematic analysis of the effects on fairness bias and dispersion of two variables: stakes and information. Most philosophical and social science analyses related to justice and bias associate heightened bias with increased information and, conversely, impartiality with the elimination of certain information. Less attention has been paid to the opposing impact of information, which is to supply the facts needed to achieve justice more reliably. An important open question is whether, on balance, increased information helps agents to achieve fairer outcomes or whether biased use of such information contributes to less fair outcomes. This study focuses on a set of previously reported experiments that share certain features and subjects them to a new analysis. The results of this analysis suggest that, although information is often used in a self-serving way, increased information can, under certain conditions, contribute to fairness claims becoming less biased and less dispersed, both for stakeholders as well as impartial spectators.

Publisher Statement

This is an author-manuscript of an article accepted for publication in Social Justice Research following peer review. The version of record is available online at: 10.1007/s11211-005-8566-6.

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