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Social Centipedes: the Impact of Group Identity on Preferences and Reasoning

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Using a group identity manipulation we examine the role of social preferences in an experimental one-shot centipede game. Contrary to what social preference theory would predict, we fnd that players continue longer when playing with outgroup members. The explanation we provide for this result rests on two observations: (i) players should only stop if they are suffciently conident that their partner will stop at the next node, given the exponentially-increasing payoffs in the game, and (ii) players are more likely to have this degree of certainty if they are matched with someone from the same group, whom they view as similar to themselves and thus predictable. We find strong statistical support for this argument. We conclude that group identity not only impacts a player's utility function, as identifed in earlier research, but also affects her reasoning about her partner's behavior.

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Paper provided by University of Vienna, Department of Economics in its series Vienna Economics Papers with number 1305.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:vie:viennp:1305

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