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Identity and in-group/out-group differentiation in work and giving behaviors: Experimental evidence

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Author Info

  • Ben-Ner, Avner
  • McCall, Brian P.
  • Stephane, Massoud
  • Wang, Hua

Abstract

We investigate the existence and relative strength of favoritism for in-group versus out-group along multiple identity categories (body type, political views, nationality, religion, and more) in four alternative contexts: (1) giving money in a dictator game, (2) sharing an office, (3) commuting, and (4) work. We carried out two studies. The first study entailed hypothetical situations and imaginary people; the second study was similar to the first, but the dictator game component was incentivized (actual money) and involved actual receivers. Our subjects' behavior towards others is significantly affected by their respective identities. (1) Those that belong to the in-group are treated more favorably than those who belong to the out-group in nearly all identity categories and in all contexts. (2) Family and kinship are the most powerful source of differentiation, followed by political views, religion, sports-team loyalty, and music preferences, with gender being basically insignificant. (3) The hierarchy of identity categories is fairly stable across the four contexts. (4) Subjects give similar amounts and discriminate between in-group and out-group to similar degrees in the hypothetical and incentivized dictator games.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 72 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 153-170

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:72:y:2009:i:1:p:153-170

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

Related research

Keywords: Identity Experiments Self-other differentiation Cooperation In-group and out-group;

References

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  1. Leonard, Jonathan S. & Levine, David I., 2003. "Diversity, discrimination, and performance," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt19d1c3n3, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  2. Darity, William Jr. & Mason, Patrick L. & Stewart, James B., 2006. "The economics of identity: The origin and persistence of racial identity norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 283-305, July.
  3. Fershtman, C. & Gneezy, U., 2000. "Discrimination in a Segmented Society: an Experimental Approach," Papers 2000-9, Tel Aviv.
  4. Ben-Ner, Avner & Putterman, Louis, 2009. "Trust, communication and contracts: An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 106-121, May.
  5. Avner Ben-Ner & Claire A. Hill, 2008. "Reducing The Negative Consequences Of Identity: A Potential Role For The Nonprofit Sector In The Era Of Globalization," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 79(3-4), pages 579-600, 09.
  6. Boone, Christophe & De Brabander, Bert & van Witteloostuijn, Arjen, 1999. "The impact of personality on behavior in five Prisoner's Dilemma games," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 343-377, June.
  7. Avner Ben-Ner & Louis Putterman, 1999. "Reciprocity in a Two Part Dictator Game," Working Papers 99-28, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  8. Ben-Ner, Avner & Kong, Fanmin & Putterman, Louis, 2004. "Share and share alike? Gender-pairing, personality, and cognitive ability as determinants of giving," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 581-589, October.
  9. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846, August.
    • Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L. & Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Roland G. Fryer & Matthew O. Jackson, 2002. "Categorical Cognition: A Psychological Model of Categories and Identification in Decision Making," Microeconomics 0211002, EconWPA.
  11. Avner Ben-Ner & Ori Levy, . "Economic and Hypothetical Dictator Game Experiments: Incentive Effects at the Individual Level," Working Papers 0305, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus).
  12. Scott E. Page, 2007. "Prologue to The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies
    [The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and So
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  13. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  14. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2002. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1167-1201, December.
  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. 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.
  17. Nicholas Bardsley, 2000. "Control Without Deception: Individual Behaviour in Free-Riding Experiments Revisited," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 215-240, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Friesen, Jane & Arifovic, Jasmina & Wright, Stephen C. & Ludwig, Andreas & Giamo, Lisa & Baray, Gamze, 2012. "Ethnic identity and discrimination among children," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1156-1169.
  2. Andersen, Kristina Vaarst, 2013. "The problem of embeddedness revisited: Collaboration and market types," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 139-148.
  3. McEvily, Bill & Radzevick, Joseph R. & Weber, Roberto A., 2012. "Whom do you distrust and how much does it cost? An experiment on the measurement of trust," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 285-298.
  4. Fehrler, Sebastian & Kosfeld, Michael, 2013. "Can You Trust the Good Guys? Trust Within and Between Groups with Different Missions," IZA Discussion Papers 7411, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Pedro Robalo & Arthur Schram & Joep Sonnemans, 2013. "Other-regarding Preferences, Group Identity and Political Participation: An Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-079/I, Tinbergen Institute.
  6. Boschini, Anne & Muren, Astri & Persson, Mats, 2012. "Constructing gender differences in the economics lab," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 741-752.
  7. Donna Harris & Benedikt Herrmann, 2012. "When to Favour Your Own group? The Threats of Costly Punishments and In-group Favouritism," Economics Series Working Papers 628, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Ben-Ner, Avner, 2013. "Preferences and organization structure: Toward behavioral economics micro-foundations of organizational analysis," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 87-96.
  9. de Marti, Joan & Zenou, Yves, 2011. "Identity and Social Distance in Friendship Formation," Research Papers in Economics 2011:13, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  10. Costard, Jano & Bolle, Friedel, 2011. "Solidarity, responsibility and group identity," Discussion Papers 309, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Department of Business Administration and Economics.
  11. Hammermann, Andrea & Mohnen, Alwine & Nieken, Petra, 2012. "Whom to Choose as a Team Mate? A Lab Experiment about In-Group Favouritism," IZA Discussion Papers 6286, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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