Implementing (Un)fair Procedures? Favoritism and Process Fairness when Inequality is Inevitable

Robert J. Schmidt, Stefan Trautmann

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We study allocation behavior when outcome inequality is inevitable but a fair process is feasible, as in selecting one person from several candidates for a job or award. We show that allocators may be influenced by inappropriate criteria, impeding the implementation of a fair process. We study four interventions to induce process fairness without restricting the allocator’s decisions: Increasing the transparency of the allocation process; providing a private randomization device; allowing the allocator to delegate to a public randomization device; and allowing the allocator to avoid information on inappropriate criteria. All interventions except transparency have positive effects, but differ substantially in their impact.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherCentER, Center for Economic Research
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2019

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper


  • equality
  • procedural justice
  • discrimination


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