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Group Identity and Social Preferences

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  • Yan Chen
  • Sherry Xin Li
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    Abstract

    We present a laboratory experiment that measures the effects of induced group identity on social preferences. We find that when participants are matched with an ingroup member, they show a 47 percent increase in charity concerns and a 93 percent decrease in envy. Likewise, participants are 19 percent more likely to reward an ingroup match for good behavior, but 13 percent less likely to punish an ingroup match for misbehavior. Furthermore, participants are significantly more likely to choose social-welfare-maximizing actions when matched with an ingroup member. All results are consistent with the hypothesis that participants are more altruistic toward an ingroup match. (JEL C91, D03, Z13)

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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.99.1.431
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/mar09/20061107_data.zip
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 99 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 431-57

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:1:p:431-57

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.1.431
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    References

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    1. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3014, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    13. Basu, Kaushik, 2006. "Identity, Trust and Altruism: Sociological Clues to Economic Development," Working Papers 06-05, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
    14. Cox, J. & Friedman, D. & Gjerstad, S., 2006. "A Trackable Model of Reciprocity and Fairness," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1181, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
    15. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
    16. Lorenz Goette & David Huffman & Stephan Meier, 2006. "The impact of group membership on cooperation and norm enforcement: evidence using random assignment to real social groups," Working Papers 06-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    17. Gary Charness & Luca Rigotti & Aldo Rustichini, 2007. "Individual Behavior and Group Membership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1340-1352, September.
    18. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    19. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2005. "Managing diversity by creating team identity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 371-392, November.
    20. Brown-Kruse, Jamie & Hummels, David, 1993. "Gender effects in laboratory public goods contribution : Do individuals put their money where their mouth is?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 255-267, December.
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