Does Distributive Justice Pay? Sternberg's Compensation Ethics

Abstract
Compensation has received a great deal of attention from social scientists. Characteristically, they have been concerned with the causes and effects of various compensation schemes. By contrast, few theorists have addressed the normative aspects of compensation. An exception is Elaine Sternberg, who offers in Just Business a comprehensive theory of compensation ethics. This paper critically examines her theory, and argues that the justification she gives for it fails. Its failure is instructive, however. The main argument Sternberg gives for her theory points in the direction of a different one. This, in turns, helps us to see what a justification of Sternberg’s theory must look like. While focused on Sternberg, this paper is of general interest. It identifies what are likely to be important positionsand arguments in debates about compensation ethics, and thus provides a jumping-off point for further research in this neglected area
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