Differentiated Distributive Justice Preferences? Configurations of Preferences for Equality, Equity and Need in Three Welfare Domains
Arno Van Hootegem, Koen Abts, Bart Meuleman
Social Justice Research
Login to get access
Empirical public opinion research on distributive justice often does not acknowledge that individuals’ social justice preferences may strongly depend on the particular type of distribution at stake and therefore does not take into account the multiplicity of justice principles that people may simultaneously apply in their distributive judgements. As a result, to contribute to the understanding of differentiated justice preferences, we analyse citizens’ preferences for the principles of equality, equity and need in the three welfare domains of health care, pensions and unemployment benefits. In particular, this paper provides insight into the domain specificity of distributive justice preferences, into specific configurations or combinations of justice preferences across domains and into the social and ideological basis of these configurations. On the basis of data from the Belgian National Elections Study of 2014, we conduct a three-step latent class analysis. Results show that the distributive justice principles are preferred to a different extent for various welfare domains and that there is a substantial proportion of respondents that combines different principles of justice across welfare domains. This study also demonstrates that configurations are mainly structured by ideology instead of the social structure.