Envy: An Adversarial Review and Comparison of Two Competing Views

Jan Crusius*, Manuel F. Gonzalez, Jens Lange, Yochi Cohen-Charash

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


The nature of envy has recently been the subject of a heated debate. Some researchers see envy as a complex, yet unitary construct that despite being hostile in nature can lead to both hostile and nonhostile reactions. Others offer a dual approach to envy, in which envy’s outcomes reflect two types of envy: benign envy, involving upward motivation, and malicious envy, involving hostility against superior others. We compare these competing conceptualizations of envy in an adversarial (yet collaborative) review. Our goal is to aid the consumers of envy research in navigating the intricacies of this debate. We identify agreements and disagreements and describe implications for theory, methodology, and measurement, as well as challenges and opportunities for future work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalEmotion Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • adversarial collaboration
  • benign envy
  • envy
  • malicious envy
  • social comparison


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