ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (6): 794-813.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2017.00794

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 Social justice, institutional trust and public cooperation intention

 ZHANG Shuwei   

  1.  (Center for Chinese Public Administration Research; School of Government, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China)
  • Received:2016-09-30 Published:2017-06-25 Online:2020-10-30
  • Contact: ZHANG Shuwei, E-mail: E-mail:E-mail:
  • Supported by:

Abstract:  Social justice is one of human's long pursuit, as well as core values of social governance in contemporary China. People’s perception of social justice affects their institutional trust, which in turn influences their cooperation with government. However, for the lack of empirical research on the relationship between public cooperation and social justice or institutional trust, there is no evidence of the process from social justice to public cooperation in individual-institution interaction. This research consisting of three studies focused on the mechanism under which social justice has an impact on cooperation through the mediating effect of institutional trust in public good dilemmas by using the methods of laboratory experiment. Furthermore, ultimatum game and impunity game were creatively used in individual-institution interaction to successfully manipulate social justice. Social justice includes distributive justice and procedural justice. In addition, institutional trust is divided into instrumental trust and motive-based trust. Pre-study investigated the ratio of distributive justice in ultimatum game, which was the base of study 1 and study 2. Study 1 aims to find the dual-pathway model from social justice to public cooperation through one pathway of instrumental trust and another pathway of motive-based trust in the organizational context. Moreover, the purpose of study 2 is extending this dual-pathway model to the social context. The results indicated that: First, people with high distributive justice were more likely to participate in public cooperation than those with low distributive justice. Meanwhile, people with high procedural justice were also more likely to participate in public cooperation than those with low procedural justice. Second, both distributive justice and procedural justice positively influenced public cooperation intention (PCI) at the same time. One the other hand, both instrumental trust and motive-based trust partially mediated the relation between social justice and PCI. This fact supported the “dual-pathway model of PCI”. In general, the total effect of distributive justice on PCI was stronger than that of procedural justice. An important theoretical implication of this research is setup of the dual-pathway model to public cooperation intention with organizations and governments in the organizational and social contexts. In addition, the current series of studies provide some useful experimental paradigms (e.g., ultimatum game and impunity game) for manipulating social justice. Regarding the practical implications, this research examines the social psychological motivation mechanism underlying public cooperation in China to help managers and administrators understand how to improve individuals’ cooperation with institution.

Key words:  distributive justice, procedural justice, instrumental trust, motive-based trust, ultimatum game, impunity game, public good dilemmas

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