Saturday, June 26, 2021

Leftists motivated by 'malicious envy'

Chien-An Lin, Timothy Bates

While theory predicts fairness motivates support for redistribution, tests have yielded near-zero effects. Here we propose the relevant evolved fairness motive operates within the community sharing relation, experienced as a unity motive to treat “all as one and none as more than one”. Study 1 (N = 403) supported this model, with a moderate (𝛽 = .15 CI[.06, .23]) significant effect of a communal fairness measure on support for redistribution, incremental to effects of compassion, envy, and self-interest. Study 2 (N=402) replicated with larger effect (𝛽 = .25 CI[.17, .33]). As distribution involves means as well as ends, we tested support for redistribution by coercive means. In both study 1 and 2, support for coercion was predicted by “ends justify the means” intuitions (instrumental harm: 𝛽 = .21 CI[.12, .31)] and .16 CI[.08, .25]). Communal fairness also predicted willingness to coerce (𝛽 = .15 CI[.05 .24] and .32 CI[.23 .41]). These five psychological motives accounted for 45% of support for redistribution, suggesting considerable value for political, economic, evolutionary, and ethical theory.

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