In customer or labor markets raising prices or cutting wages is perceived as unfair if it results from the exploitation of shifts in demands. In a series of manipulations we show that adding an alternative to the original choice set alters the perception of fairness of the final outcome. Adding a worse alternative lowers the perception of unfairness, whereas adding a better alternative raises the perception of unfairness. These findings supplemented with existing experimental evidence cast doubt on purely outcome-based theories of fairness and suggest that fairness perceptions are highly manipulable.
Bereby-Meyer, Y. and Grosskopf, B. (2004), "HOW MANIPULABLE ARE FAIRNESS PERCEPTIONS? THE EFFECT OF ADDITIONAL ALTERNATIVES", Cowell, F. (Ed.) Inequality, Welfare and Income Distribution: Experimental Approaches (Research on Economic Inequality, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 43-53. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1049-2585(04)11003-X
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