Children's Sense of Fairness as Equal Respect.
One influential view holds that children's sense of fairness emerges at age 8 and is rooted in the development of an aversion to unequal resource distributions. Here, we suggest two amendments to this view. First, we argue and present evidence that children's sense of fairness emerges already at age 3 in (and only in) the context of collaborative activities. This is because, in our theoretical view, collaboration creates a sense of equal respect among partners. Second, we argue and present evidence that children's judgments about what is fair are essentially judgments about the social meaning of the distributive act; for example, children accept unequal distributions if the procedure gave everyone an equal chance (so-called distributive justice). Children thus respond to unequal (and other) distributions not based on material concerns, but rather based on interpersonal concerns: they want equal respect.
Engelmann, JM; Tomasello, M
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