Reactions to a Postal Rate Increase: Justification or Inequity Distress?1


  • Jerald Greenberg

    1. Tulane University
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    • 2

      Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Jerald Greenberg, Department of Psychology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118.

  • 1

    This study was conducted while the author was affiliated with Case Western Reserve University.


Three hundred and thirty-four adults were surveyed regarding their satisfaction with the postal service either 2 weeks before a 2c increase in first-class postage, 2 days after, or 4 weeks after. Two days after the increase, relatively low users reported more dissatisfaction, while high use customers reported increased satisfaction. The personal cost associated with inequitable conditions (higher price for same services) appears to moderate the use of justificatory responses. Four weeks after the increase, satisfaction returned to pre-increase levels, suggesting that feelings of inequity created by the price increase were temporary.