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Time Is On My Side: Inherited Privileges are Viewed as Equally Fair Across Generations
Although prior research has begun investigating privilege based upon status characteristics like race or gender, little consideration has been given to perceptions of privilege that is obtained through familial ties. Across three studies, we investigate perceptions of fairness and legitimacy of the transmission of privilege within families over time. Contrary to our expectations, we found that fairness and legitimacy judgments of inherited privilege were remarkably stable across time. That is, the temporal gap between the relative who established the privilege and the descendant benefitting from that privilege did not moderate perceptions of fairness or how deserving the recipient was. This held across several types of privilege, when time was stretched across hundreds of years, and in zero-sum contexts when another person stood to lose out to the target’s unearned privilege.