ABILITY-BASED, EFFORT-BASED AND EQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF FRUITS OF LABOR
 
Oie, M., Sano International Information College and Hatano, G., Keio University, Japan
 
It is often asserted that the Japanese be characterized by belief-in- effort, that is, an assumption of supreme importance of effort as a determinant of intellectual achievements, and that this often leads them to emphasize equality rather than equity in the distribution of fruits of their labor. We investigated what kinds of distributions of fruits are considered to be fair and satisfactory among Japanese. Twenty female junior college students and 26 male and female university students participated in the experiment. They were asked to divide the outcome of collaboration for two situations: one was the income from a collectively-run apple farm, and the other, special bonus given to a laboratory for its distinguished achievement. When the students were asked to offer the best rationale for distribution by dividing ten points, they gave on average 2.9, 3.7, and 3.4 to equality (give an equal amount to every participant), effort (give an amount proportional to the participant's effort), and ability (give an amount proportional to the participant's proposed ideas), respectively to the management of an orchard, and 2.7, 3.5, and 3.7 to equality, effort, and ability, respectively to the bonus of a laboratory. Correlation coefficients for equality, effort, and ability points between the two tasks were .69, .62, and .58 (p<01), respectively. These results suggest that, though there are large individual differences, some Japanese people take it fair if the distribution of an outcome is equal among members sharing the status/role or proportional to the effort spent, but not fair if it is proportional to ability.