Manipulating Allocation Justice: How Framing Effects can Increase the Prevalence of the Talmudic Division Principle "Shnaim Ohazin"

Yevgeni Berzak and Michael Fink

In the role of judges in bankruptcy problems, people may prescribe various just divisions of the available goods to claimants who have rights for them. Two widespread division rules are equality and proportionality. A less known rule is the Talmudic "Shnaim Ohazin" principle, whose basic rationale is applying an equal division only to that part of the goods which is genuinely under dispute. This paper demonstrates that the ratio of subjects that prefer the "Shnaim Ohazin" principle over equality and proportionality can be increased by a simple framing manipulation. These results suggest that framing effects might be a prevalent factor in the realm of distributive justice.

April, 2008
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