Need-based justice, group membership and expertise

Sponsoring Institution


Project Team

Project Management

Prof. Dr. Markus Tepe
University Oldenburg

Prof. Dr. Adele Diederich
Jacobs University Bremen

Project Staff

Nils Springhorn
University of Oldenburg

Need-based justice, group membership and expertise

2nd Application Stage
Sub-Projekt B2 (DFG Research Group FOR2104)

Sub-project B2 studies the influence of the procedure of collective needs-recognition on the legitimacy of the distributive choice under consideration of the expert hypothesis. The findings from the first funding phase show that the decision-making processes of collective needs-recognition are susceptible to systematic distortion (equivalence framing, leaky-bucket effect, deservingness, entitlement, voting rule). The findings also show that groups are indeed capable of reaching a needs-based just distribution if they can draw on a neutral expert’s opinion. The social reach and differentiation of the application of the demand principle are central in the second phase of B2. To this end, we aim to analyse under which circumstances the group membership of voters and that of the expert incite a more inclusive or a more exclusive application of the needs principle. To answer this question on analytical and experimental grounds, a new distribution and negotiation game has to be modelled in which a just redistribution must be voted upon. The game theoretic serves as a reference to test how the collective needs-recognition and the legitimacy of redistributive decisions change as the group members and expert are placed into social categories in turn.

The research group FOR 2104 “Needs-based justice and redistributive procedures” delivers contributions to a positive and “informed” normative theory of needs-based justice based on experimental evidence. The present sub-project belongs to the B column, which is dedicated to collective recognition and legitimacy of needs-based redistribution and the possibility of objectification of needs-based redistribution by experts. In the first funding phase of sub-project B2, collective recognition and legitimacy of needs-based redistribution were studied within the framework of a redistributive tax rate. The Meltzer and Richard (1981, henceforth MR) Model was used as a theoretical framework and basis for the experimental design. In the second funding phase of B2, the social reach and differentiation of collective recognition and legitimacy of redistributive justice are to be studied. The main focus lies on the question of under which circumstances social group memberships of voters and experts alter the application of the needs-principle to be either inclusive or exclusive. To attempt to answer this question, a new bargaining theoretic model must be specified in which group members vote on the allotment of a need-fulfilling resource. To begin with, we must define a game theoretic solution under the assumption of completely rational and egotistical actors. This game theoretic assumption serves as a reference with which to study how the collective recognition and legitimacy of needs change when group members and experts are categorized gradually and along different intensities.

(Changed: 2021-04-08)