Entitlement in social justice research: theory, application, and measurement

Inness, Michelle
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University of Guelph

There are three objectives to the present study: to ameliorate the confusion in the social justice literature regarding whether the construct of entitlement is distinguishable from that of deserving, to examine whether there is consistency in people's perceptions of what constitutes social or personal entitlements, and to identify the underlying characteristics of the entitlement construct. One-hundred and fifty-six undergraduates (132 females; 24 males) were asked to provide a definition of either entitlement or deserving, and to respond to a series of questions about the nature of entitlement and to what they feel entitled. Respondents' answers indicated that entitlement and deserving are distinct constructs, that there is consistency among people's perceptions of the kinds of resources to which they are entitled, and that there are two distinct, measurable factors that comprise the construct of entitlement. The methodological implications of these findings for social justice research are discussed.

social justice, entitlement, deserving, social entitlement, personal entitlements, perceptions