Justice and Redistribution among Cohorts: Perceptions of Just Earnings among Age and Economic Cohorts





Published date: 

June, 2019


Yi-Bin Chang


Previous empirical studies in politics used to regard people as being part of the same political cohort if they grew up in the same political context. This study argues that the concept of a political cohort is inappropriate in explaining differences in the perception of just earnings among cohorts. Given this, the concept of an economic cohort is used in this study and economic cohorts refer to those who grew up in the same economic context. Methodologically, this study utilizes the cross-classified random-effects model to scrutinize perceptions of redistributive justice among economic cohorts because this model is able to correct biased estimators caused by the severe multicollinearity between age groups and cohorts. According to the empirical results, different economic cohorts possess varying perspectives on what just earnings are, while people in different age groups also exhibit significant diversity in their perceptions of just earnings. Secondly, at the individual level, some explanatory variables such as male, marital status, a higher level of education, subjective higher social class, and ethnicity (mainlander) are more likely to regard earnings as over-rewarded. Finally, the perceptions of just earnings reflect the life cycle effect among different age groups. People aged 20 to 29 are those who are most dissatisfied with their earnings, whereas people over the age of 30 gradually become more satisfied with their rewards. In general, senior economic cohorts are more likely to regard their earnings or income as over-rewarded injustice, while junior economic cohorts exhibit a different perspective and regard their income as under-rewarded injustice. The diversity of perceptions of just earnings between senior and junior economic cohorts may be due to changes in income structure caused by economic globalization or industrial change.