IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/eecrev/v58y2013icp95-109.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Group identity and relation-specific investment: An experimental investigation

Author

Listed:
  • Morita, Hodaka
  • Servátka, Maroš

Abstract

The hold-up problem has played a central role in the study of firm boundaries, which is a fundamental element of the economic study of organizations. We study a previously unexplored mechanism by which integration between two parties could mitigate the problem. Based on the social identity theory, we conjecture that group identity strengthens agents’ altruistic preferences towards group members, and this helps mitigate the hold-up problem. We test this conjecture in a laboratory experiment. Our subjects were randomly divided into two teams and asked to wear their team uniform. Task 1 required them to answer questions about trivia, where the subjects had access to a chat program that enabled them to help their team members. For Task 2, the subjects played a hold-up game with either a member of their own team (representing integration) or a member of the other team (non-integration). The experimental results support our conjectures.

Suggested Citation

  • Morita, Hodaka & Servátka, Maroš, 2013. "Group identity and relation-specific investment: An experimental investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 95-109.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:58:y:2013:i:c:p:95-109
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2012.11.006
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014292112001523
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    2. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 2002. "Relational Contracts and the Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 39-84.
    3. Afridi, Farzana & Li, Sherry Xin & Ren, Yufei, 2015. "Social identity and inequality: The impact of China's hukou system," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 17-29.
    4. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    5. Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2003. "Promises & Partnership," Research Papers in Economics 2003:3, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    6. Ernst Fehr & Susanne Kremhelmer & Klaus M. Schmidt, 2008. "Fairness and the Optimal Allocation of Ownership Rights," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(531), pages 1262-1284, August.
    7. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-1158, December.
    8. Daniel J. Benjamin & James J. Choi & A. Joshua Strickland, 2010. "Social Identity and Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1913-1928, September.
    9. Bruce Kogut & Udo Zander, 1992. "Knowledge of the Firm, Combinative Capabilities, and the Replication of Technology," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 3(3), pages 383-397, August.
    10. Matthias Sutter, 2009. "Individual Behavior and Group Membership: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2247-2257, December.
    11. Roberto A. Weber & Colin F. Camerer, 2003. "Cultural Conflict and Merger Failure: An Experimental Approach," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 400-415, April.
    12. Bengt Holmstrom & John Roberts, 1998. "The Boundaries of the Firm Revisited," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 73-94, Fall.
    13. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Promises, Threats and Fairness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 397-420, April.
    14. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2011. "Identity, Morals, and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 805-855.
    15. 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.
    16. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-261, October.
    17. James C. Cox & Daniel Friedman & Vjollca Sadiraj, 2008. "Revealed Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 31-69, January.
    18. Martin Dufwenberg & Alec Smith & Matt Van Essen, 2013. "Hold-Up: With A Vengeance," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 896-908, January.
    19. 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.
    20. Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2010. "Bare promises: An experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 281-283, May.
    21. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
    22. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
    23. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
    24. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    25. 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.
    26. James C. Cox & Vjollca Sadiraj, 2007. "On Modeling Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Public Finance Review, , vol. 35(2), pages 311-332, March.
    27. Shelanski, Howard A & Klein, Peter G, 1995. "Empirical Research in Transaction Cost Economics: A Review and Assessment," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 335-361, October.
    28. McLeish, Kendra N. & Oxoby, Robert J., 2007. "Identity, Cooperation, and Punishment," IZA Discussion Papers 2572, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    29. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Is There a Hold-up Problem?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 475-494, October.
    30. Kaushik Basu, 2005. "Racial conflict and the malignancy of identity," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 3(3), pages 221-241, December.
    31. Tanaka, Tomomi & Camerer, Colin & Nguyen, Quang, 2009. "Measuring Norms of Redistributive Transfers: Trust Experiments and Survey Data from Vietnam," MPRA Paper 16119, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    32. Cox, James C. & Friedman, Daniel & Gjerstad, Steven, 2007. "A tractable model of reciprocity and fairness," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 17-45, April.
    33. James C. Cox & Cary A. Deck, 2005. "On the Nature of Reciprocal Motives," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(3), pages 623-635, July.
    34. 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.
    35. 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.
    36. Hoppe, Eva I. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2011. "Can contracts solve the hold-up problem? Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 186-199, September.
    37. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
    38. Gibbons, Robert, 2005. "Four forma(lizable) theories of the firm?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 200-245, October.
    39. Williamson, Oliver E, 1971. "The Vertical Integration of Production: Market Failure Considerations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 112-123, May.
    40. Bruce Kogut & Udo Zander, 1996. "What Firms Do? Coordination, Identity, and Learning," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 7(5), pages 502-518, October.
    41. Hackett, Steven C, 1994. "Is Relational Exchange Possible in the Absence of Reputations and Repeated Contact?," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 360-389, October.
    42. C. Cadsby & Maroš Servátka & Fei Song, 2010. "Gender and generosity: does degree of anonymity or group gender composition matter?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(3), pages 299-308, September.
    43. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817.
    44. 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.
    45. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    46. Sonnemans, Joep & Oosterbeek, Hessel & Sloof, Randolp, 2001. "On the Relation between Asset Ownership and Specific Investments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 791-820, October.
    47. Roy Chen & Yan Chen, 2011. "The Potential of Social Identity for Equilibrium Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2562-2589, October.
    48. James Cox & Klarita Sadiraj & Vjollca Sadiraj, 2008. "Implications of trust, fear, and reciprocity for modeling economic behavior," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(1), pages 1-24, March.
    49. Sloof, Randolph & Leuven, Edwin & Oosterbeek, Hessel & Sonnemans, Joep, 2003. " An Experimental Comparison of Reliance Levels under Alternative Breach Remedies," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 205-222, Summer.
    50. Yan Chen & Sherry Xin Li, 2009. "Group Identity and Social Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 431-457, March.
    51. 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.
    52. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2008. "Identity, Supervision, and Work Groups," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 212-217, May.
    53. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
    54. Randolph Sloof & Hessel Oosterbeek & Joep Sonnemans, 2007. "Does Making Specific Investments Unobservable Boost Investment Incentives?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 911-942, December.
    55. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:gamebe:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:238-252 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Chakravarty, Surajeet & Fonseca, Miguel A. & Ghosh, Sudeep & Marjit, Sugata, 2016. "Religious fragmentation, social identity and cooperation: Evidence from an artefactual field experiment in India," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 265-279.
    3. Surajeet Chakravarty & Miguel A. Fonseca & Sudeep Ghosh & Sugata Marjit, 2015. "Religious fragmentation, social identity and rent-seeking: Evidence from an artefactual field experiment in India," Discussion Papers 1512, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
    4. repec:eee:gamebe:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:706-725 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Kusterer, David J. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2017. "The management of innovation: Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 706-725.
    6. Hodaka Morita & Maroš Servátka, 2016. "Does Group Identity Prevent Inefficient Investment in Outside Options? An Experimental Investigation," Research in Experimental Economics,in: Experiments in Organizational Economics, volume 19, pages 105-126 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    7. Weng, Qian, 2013. "Session Size and its Effect on Identity Building: Evidence from a public goods experiment," Working Papers in Economics 560, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    8. Hodaka Morita & Maroš Servátka, 2014. "Investment in Outside Options as Opportunistic Behavior: An Experimental Investigation," Working Papers in Economics 14/31, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    9. Hodaka Morita & Maroš Servátka, 2011. "Symbols, Group Identity and the Hold-up Problem," Working Papers in Economics 11/38, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    10. Chakravarty, Surajeet & Fonseca, Miguel A., 2014. "The effect of social fragmentation on public good provision: An experimental study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 1-9.
    11. Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa & Smyth, Russell, 2017. "Friendship network composition and subjective wellbeing," EconStor Preprints 158003, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    12. Chowdhury, Subhasish M. & Jeon, Joo Young & Ramalingam, Abhijit, 2016. "Identity and group conflict," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 107-121.
    13. Gu, Jun & Mueller, Annika & Nielsen, Ingrid & Shachat, Jason & Smyth, Russell, 2015. "Reducing prejudice through actual and imagined contact: A field experiment with Malawian shopkeepers and Chinese immigrants," Working Papers on East Asian Studies 105/2015, University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute of East Asian Studies IN-EAST.
    14. Vecci, Joseph & Zelinsky, Tomas, 2016. "Social Identity and Role Models," Working Papers in Economics 672, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Altruism; Experiment; Hold-up problem; Group identity; Integration; Other-regarding preferences; Relation-specific investment; Team membership;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:58:y:2013:i:c:p:95-109. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.