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Identities, selection, and contributions in a public-goods game

Author

Listed:
  • Charness, Gary
  • Cobo-Reyes, Ramón
  • Jiménez, Natalia

Abstract

The notions of one's social identity and group membership have recently become topics for economic theory and experiments, and recent research has shown the importance of identity in a wide array of economic environments. But predictions are unclear when there is some trade-off between one's identity (e.g., race, gender, handedness) and potential monetary considerations. We conduct a public-goods experiment in which we permit endogenous group-formation. In a 2×2 design, we vary whether people participate in a team-building exercise and whether some people receive an endowment twice as much as others receive. We find that when both identity and financial considerations are present, high-endowment participants are strongly attracted to each other, with one's word-task-group affiliation eclipsed by the opportunity to earn more. Nevertheless, the team-building exercise greatly increases the level of contribution whether or not one is linked to people from one's team-building exercise.

Suggested Citation

  • Charness, Gary & Cobo-Reyes, Ramón & Jiménez, Natalia, 2014. "Identities, selection, and contributions in a public-goods game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 322-338.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:87:y:2014:i:c:p:322-338
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2014.05.002
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Experiment; Identity; Team building; Public goods contributions;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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