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Social interactions and the salience of social identity

  • McLeish, Kendra N.
  • Oxoby, Robert J.

We explore the effect of identity salience on behaviour in a simple social interaction. Specifically, we compare ultimatum bargaining across three treatments: priming subjects with a shared identity, priming subjects with an identity distinct from those with whom they will interact, and priming subjects with no particular identity. We find that subjects are most cooperative in the identity-priming treatment and least cooperative in the distinctiveness-priming treatment. Similarly, subjects reveal the highest demands in the identity-priming treatment and the lowest demands in the distinctiveness-priming treatment. We discuss the implications of these results with respect to the literature on organizational identity.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 32 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 172-178

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:1:p:172-178
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

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  1. Yan Chen & Sherry Xin Li, 2009. "Group Identity and Social Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 431-57, March.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation In Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904, August.
  3. Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Bargaining Structure, Fairness and Efficiency," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt35g8s3dd, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
  5. 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.
  6. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. McLeish, Kendra N. & Oxoby, Robert J., 2007. "Identity, Cooperation, and Punishment," IZA Discussion Papers 2572, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  11. Lorenz Goette & David Huffman & Stephan Meier, 2006. "The Impact of Group Membership on Cooperation and Norm Enforcement: Evidence Using Random Assignment to Real Social Groups," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 212-216, May.
  12. Durlauf,S.N., 1999. "The case "against" social capital," Working papers 29, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  13. Daniel J. Benjamin & James J. Choi & A. Joshua Strickland, 2010. "Social Identity and Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1913-28, September.
  14. Karla Hoff & Priyanka Pandey, 2006. "Discrimination, Social Identity, and Durable Inequalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 206-211, May.
  15. Wit, Arjaan P. & Wilke, Henk A. M., 1992. "The effect of social categorization on cooperation in three types of social dilemmas," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 135-151, March.
  16. Oxoby, Robert J. & McLeish, Kendra N., 2004. "Sequential decision and strategy vector methods in ultimatum bargaining: evidence on the strength of other-regarding behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 399-405, September.
  17. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4551796, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  18. 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.
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