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

Listed author(s):
  • Charness, Gary
  • Cobo-Reyes, Ramón
  • Jiménez, Natalia

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.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899825614000815
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 87 (2014)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 322-338

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:87:y:2014:i:c:p:322-338
DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2014.05.002
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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