Methods for empirical justice analysis: Part 1. Framework, models, and quantities

Guillermina Jasso, Bernd Wegener

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The objective of empirical justice analysis is fourfold: (i) to obtain numerical approximations of the quantities and relations identified by justice theory; (ii) to gauge the extent of interindividual and intergroup variation in the quantities and relations; (iii) to explain their etiology, including the effects of social structure and of the observers position in the stratification structure; and (iv) to assess their behavioral and social consequences. This is the first of two papers whose goal is to begin systematic collection of the methods for empirical justice analysis. In this paper, we start by describing the general four-question framework for studying justice, a framework which can be used to organize the accumulating knowledge in the field and to guide both theoretical and empirical inquiry and which can be applied to disparate justice domains. Next we show how attentiveness to empirical intrusions, such as cognitive distortions, together with further reasonings, transforms the three fundamental quantities of the framework-the actual condition, the just condition, and the justice evaluation-into an expanded set of terms, relations, and specific functions. To provide concrete description of methods, we focus on application of the framework to questions of distributive and retributive justice, noting, however, that some of these methods can directly be used for studying questions of procedural justice and of the just society and may be generalizable to further domains. We derive a set of 18 quantities and eight relations identified by the justice framework, and, to prepare for obtaining numerical approximations, we briefly discuss three types of operations- measurement, estimation, and calculation-and present basic empirical models derived from the framework. In the second paper of this set, we will describe several basic research designs, discuss design-specific procedures for obtaining numerical approximations of the justice quantities and relations, and provide empirical illustration.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)393-430
    Number of pages38
    JournalSocial Justice Research
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - 1997


    • Four-question framework
    • Framing
    • Just reward
    • Justice evaluation
    • Justice theory
    • Psychophysics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anthropology
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Law


    Dive into the research topics of 'Methods for empirical justice analysis: Part 1. Framework, models, and quantities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this