Relation of Belief in Justice to the Typicality of Complementary Stereotypes of the Rich and the Poor



Objective. Analysis of the contribution of complementary and non-complementary stereotypes and assessing their typicality in the level of belief in a just world (BJW) among employees of commercial and non-profit organizations.Background. Increasing economic inequality makes it relevant to study the relationship between the assessment of the world as just and the relationship to the rich and poor. According to the theory of system justification by J. Jost, people are motivated to support the status quo, including by relying on complementary stereotypes that combine desirable and undesirable qualities in one image. Research by A. Kay and J. Jost (2003) has shown that actualizing complementary stereotypes of the unhappy rich and the happy poor increases the level of the acquitting of systems. However, the nature of the impact of complementary stereotypes and non-complementary stereotypes on the belief in justice, depending on the initial just-world belief level, and the contribution of subjective assessment of the typicality of complementary stereotypes and non-complementary stereotypes to the just-world belief level remains poorly studied.Study design. A two-factor plan was used to analyze the contributions of the actualization of stereotypes and the place of work to the level of the just-world belief scales. The paper studied the dependence of the level of the just-world belief scales on the place of work of the respondents, the conditions of filling the questionnaire (after actualization of complementary stereotypes, non-complementary stereotypes, and without reading the texts), and the relative contribution to the level of the just-world belief scales of the conditions of filling the questionnaire and assessing the typicality. The method of analysis of variance was used to compare the just-world belief level in groups of employees of commercial and non-profit organizations under different filling conditions. Regression analysis was used to assess the contribution of gender, age, place of work, and the assessment of the typicality of complementary stereotypes and non-complementary stereotypes to the just-world belief level.Participants. 260 people, including 130 employees of non-profit organizations, 130 employees of commercial organizations, the average age was 36 years.Measurements. Vignettes with descriptions of complementary stereotypes and non-complementary stereotypes, the just-world belief questionnaire (S.K. Nartova-Bochaver et al., 2013).Results. For non-profit organizations employees, the level of both just-world belief scales decreases at non-complementary stereotypes actualization; for commercial organizations employees, it increases slightly at complementary stereotypes actualization in relation to the background. The level of BJW-others is determined only by the assessment of the typicality of complementary stereotypes. None of the considered predictors contributes to the BJW-self.Conclusions. The BJW-others is determined by a subjective assessment of the typicality of complementary stereotypes. The low level of BJW increases at complementary stereotypes actualization, and the high level of BJW decreases at non-complementary stereotypes actualization.

General Information

Keywords: belief in a just world, complementary stereotypes, systems justification theory, charity

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article


Received: 30.10.2020


For citation: Ulybina E.V., Antonova A.A. Relation of Belief in Justice to the Typicality of Complementary Stereotypes of the Rich and the Poor. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2022. Vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 51–69. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2022130104. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Elena V. Ulybina, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Anastasiya A. Antonova, Lead Training Manager, LLC “MEGASPORT”, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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