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The Impact of Social Ties on Group Interactions: Evidence from Minimal Groups and Randomly Assigned Real Groups

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  • Lorenz Goette
  • David Huffman
  • Stephan Meier

Abstract

Economists are increasingly interested in how group membership affects individual behavior. The standard method assigns individuals to "minimal" groups, i.e. arbitrary labels, in a lab. But real group often involve social interactions leading to social ties between group members. Our experiments compare randomly assigned minimal groups to randomly assigned groups involving real social interactions. While adding social ties leads to qualitatively similar, although stronger, in-group favoritism in cooperation, altruistic norm enforcement patterns are qualitatively different between treatments. Our findings contribute to the micro-foundation of theories of group preferences, and caution against generalizations from "minimal" groups to groups with social context. (JEL C92, D64, D71, Z13)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Microeconomics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 101-15

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:4:y:2012:i:1:p:101-15

Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.4.1.101
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  1. Götte, Lorenz & Huffman, David B. & Meier, Stephan, 2006. "The Impact of Group Membership on Cooperation and Norm Enforcement: Evidence using Random Assignment to Real Social Groups," IZA Discussion Papers 2020, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Matthias Sutter, 2008. "Individual behavior and group membership: Comment," Working Papers 2008-23, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  3. Leider, Stephen & Mobius, Markus & Rosenblat, Tanya & Do, Quoc-Ahn, 2010. "What Do We Expect from Our Friends?," Staff General Research Papers 32103, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Rosenblat, Tanya & Mobius, Markus, 2009. "Directed Altruism and Enforced Reciprocity in Social Networks," Staff General Research Papers 13025, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Chaim Fershtman & Uri Gneezy, 2001. "Discrimination In A Segmented Society: An Experimental Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 351-377, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Tsusaka, Takuji W. & Kajisa, Kei & Pede, Valerien O. & Aoyagi, Keitaro, 2013. "Neighbourhood effects and social behaviour: the case of irrigated and rainfed farmeres in Bohol, the Philippines," MPRA Paper 50130, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Butler, Je rey V. & Conzo, Pierluigi & Leroch, Martin A., 2013. "Social Identity and Punishment," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201329, University of Turin.
  3. Michalis Drouvelis & Daniele Nosenzo, 2012. "Group Identity and Leading-by-Example," Discussion Papers 2012-05, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  4. Loukas Balafoutas & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2013. "Second-Degree Moral Hazard in a Real-World Credence Goods Market," Working Papers 2013-26, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  5. Giacomo Degli Antoni & Gianluca Grimalda, 2012. "The value of real voluntary associations," Econometica Working Papers wp37, Econometica.
  6. Riener, Gerhard & Wiederhold, Simon, 2013. "Heterogeneous treatment effects in groups," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(3), pages 408-412.
  7. Alain Cohn & Michel André Maréchal & Thomas Noll, 2013. "Bad boys: the effect of criminal identity on dishonesty," ECON - Working Papers 132, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  8. Delmas, Magali A. & Lessem, Neil, 2014. "Saving power to conserve your reputation? The effectiveness of private versus public information," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 353-370.
  9. Ruffle, Bradley J. & Tobol, Yossef, 2014. "Honest on Mondays: Honesty and the temporal separation between decisions and payoffs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 126-135.

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