The Vicarious Bases of Perceived Injustice

Jeffery J. Mondak, Jon Hurwitz, Mark Peffley, Paul Testa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Profound differences exist in how Americans from various racial and ethnic groups view police and court officials. We argue that vicarious experiences contribute to this racial and ethnic divide. Drawing on research on social communication, social network composition, and negativity biases in perception and judgment, we devise a theoretical framework to articulate why vicarious experiences magnify racial and ethnic disparities in evaluations of judicial actors. Four hypotheses are tested using original survey data from the state of Washington. Results provide strong evidence that vicarious experiences influence citizens’ evaluations of both police and courts, and they do so in a manner that widens racial divides in how those actors are perceived.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-819
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©2017, Midwest Political Science Association

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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