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Distributive justice, or distributive fairness, refers to the extent to which an outcome or a distribution of outcomes conforms to norms of propriety or fairness. The recognition that people might want not simply to maximize their own payoffs and rewards but also to see goods distributed in a fair fashion has a long history. As a concept in philosophy, notions of fair distribution go back at least to Aristotle's Ethics, in which distributive justice is said to exist when each person's outcomes are proportional to his or her merits (or, as we now more often phrase it, outcomes are proportional to each person's contributions to the production of the outcomes). That is, for a favorable outcome from a joint project, the rewards should be ...

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