ALLOCATION RULE PREFERENCE IN INDIA: THE ROLE OF ALLOCATOR-RECIPIENT RELATIONSHIP, DISADVANTAGED GROUP MEMBERSHIP AND RESOURCE CHARACTERISTICS
Krishnan, L., Indian Institute of Technology, India
Allocation rule preferences among Indian subjects (semi-rural) were examined in two scenario studies, involving the effects of Allocator- Recipient relationship, Disadvantaged / Non- disadvantaged group (DG/NDG) membership, Scarce/Non-scarce resource and Nature of the resource on merit versus need preference (Study 1) and on ability versus effort preference (Study 2). Study 1 revealed significant main effects of Allocator- Recipient relationship (in a direction opposite to expectations) and Nature of the resource on Need/Merit preference. Contrary to expectations, DG/NDG membership and Resource scarcity had no significant effects. But Study 2 showed main effects of DG/NDG membership and Resource scarcity on Ability/ Effort preference. Nature of resource interacted significantly with Relationship and with Scarcity. Perceived Unfairness (Study 1) was lowest under Need and Reciprocity violations, and highest under Promise, Ability, Effort and Legality violations. Most of the findings deviated from the collectivism-based findings reported in the existing literature. In Study 1, depending on Relationship and Resource, merit was preferred over need. In Study 2, ability / effort preference was influenced by Resource, DG/NDG and Scarcity, but the variation was not marked. The findings were interpreted in terms of specific socio-cultural and resource variables (disadvantage, scarcity and non-monetary resources). The ambiguous role of disadvantage and scarcity could be due to the method adopted. The possible effects of other societal factors were pointed out.