Needs-based Justice

Need-Based Justice and Distribution Procedures

The objective of the research group “Needs-Based Justice and Distribution Procedures” is to empirically contribute to establishing a positive and informed normative theory of needs-based justice. This theory should provide answers to four questions:

(i) How do individuals identify their needs and which distributions are considered sufficient for those needs?

(ii) On the collective level, what is considered needs-based justice and which processes lead to acceptance of those needs?

(iii) Which collective dynamics unfold during this acceptance process in the context of (un-)stable political compromises?

(iv) Which incentive-based effects of the collective level can be observed on the individual level, and is a needs-based redistribution sustainable?

We assume that the principle of needs-based justice minimizes the conflict between selfish and strategically influenced (social preferences) and ethically reflected ideals of justice, if the acceptance of needs happens transparently (social objectivation) and if available information is optimally utilized through expertise (factual objectivation). Thus, in order to provide answers to our four questions, two main hypotheses are being tested: The transparency hypothesis assumes that the individual and collective acceptance of a redistribution increases with more transparency of decision making processes regarding the recognition of needs. Simultaneously, the expert hypothesis assumes that the objectivation of decisions on the recognition of needs through the utilization of expertise increases the acceptance of a redistribution. Seven interdisciplinary sub-projects investigate one of the four research questions from the perspective of one of our main hypotheses.

Within this project I co-led a sub-project on "Limits of Proceduralism? Experimental Investigations on the Stability of Procedures of Needs Identification". A fully funded PhD student, Andrew Fassett, supported me.

In the second 3-year phase of this project I will be enabled to contribute to the research group by a Mercator Visiting Fellowship.