Similarity focus and support for redistribution

Nailya Ordabayeva*, Daniel Fernandes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Although wealth inequality in the U.S. has soared to unprecedented levels in recent decades, support for redistribution is not commonplace. This research proposes a new strategy to boost redistribution support, by prompting focus on similarity (vs. dissimilarity). Four studies conducted with U.S. participants online (sampled at approximately 150 per condition in Studies 1A, 1B, and 3, and 250 participants per condition in Study 2) show that similarity (vs. dissimilarity) focus increases redistribution support. This is because focusing on similarity (vs. dissimilarity) boosts the perception that people are similar in dispositional inputs (hard work, motivation), which, in turn, weakens the justification of dissimilar outcomes and the perceived fairness of the unequal wealth distribution. The findings support the view that redistribution preferences and beliefs that justify them can be malleable, and they contribute to the emerging literature on using external manipulations to shift redistribution support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017


  • Distributive justice
  • Inequality
  • Redistribution
  • Similarity


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