Lendway, P., & Huber, G. A. (2023). The Effect of Priming Structural Fairness on Inequality Beliefs and Preferences. American Politics Research, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/1532673X231158758
Experimental research on pay inequality attitudes often provides information about pay inequality with the expectation that greater awareness of pay differences will increase the belief that pay inequality is unfair, thereby strengthening support for policies addressing pay inequality. Less explored is whether providing information about why pay inequality might be justified may lower support for addressing pay inequality or counteract the effect of providing information about such inequality. This paper finds that providing static information about pay differences across the income distribution generally does not affect support for policies addressing pay inequality. However, providing information about pay inequality followed by a labor economics argument in support of pay differences (priming structural fairness) generally decreases support for such policies. One mechanism through which this effect may operate is by increasing the belief that differences in pay are justified.