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Group Identity and Social Preferences

  • Yan Chen
  • Sherry Xin Li
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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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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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  1. 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.
  2. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2004. "Expressed Preferences and Behavior in Experimental Games," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt153590pb, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  4. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2007. "Identity, Dignity and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," IZA Discussion Papers 2583, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  7. 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.
  8. Solow, John L. & Kirkwood, Nicole, 2002. "Group identity and gender in public goods experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 403-412, August.
  9. David Lucking-Reiley & Charles H. Mullin, 2000. "Recombinant Estimation for Normal-Form Games, with Applications to Auctions and Bargaining," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0077, Econometric Society.
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  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  16. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  17. Bram Cadsby, C. & Maynes, Elizabeth, 1998. "Gender and free riding in a threshold public goods game: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 603-620, March.
  18. Basu, Kaushik, 2006. "Identity, Trust and Altruism: Sociological Clues to Economic Development," Working Papers 06-05, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  19. Helen Bernhard & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2006. "Group Affiliation and Altruistic Norm Enforcement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 217-221, May.
  20. 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.
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  22. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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