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Status, identification and in-group favouritism of the unemployed compared to other social categories

Author

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  • Wahl, Ingrid
  • Pollai, Maria
  • Kirchler, Erich

Abstract

The present study examines whether the unemployed differ from occupational categories, with regard to the perceived status of their category, identification with their category and the occurrence of in-group favouritism. According to social identity theory, members of low-status groups with permeable group boundaries often use the strategy of individual upward mobility to achieve a positive self-concept. As they strive to move into higher status groups, they do not identify with in-group members and do not favour the in-group over the out-group. It is therefore assumed that due to the low status of the unemployed in society, they negatively evaluate their in-group and do not identify with other in-group members. Results indicate that the unemployed indeed perceived a lower status of their category and identified less with their category than various occupational categories. Moreover, the unemployed did not show in-group favouritism, whereas most occupational categories did: the unemployed evaluated the in-group just as negatively as it was evaluated by the out-group (self-insight perspective). Moreover, they even evaluated the in-group more negatively than they evaluated the out-group, i.e., they displayed an out-group favouritism (social comparison perspective). Poor identification with the in-group and a lack of in-group favouritism could explain why the unemployed do not have a strong lobby to represent and jointly defend their interests in society.

Suggested Citation

  • Wahl, Ingrid & Pollai, Maria & Kirchler, Erich, 2013. "Status, identification and in-group favouritism of the unemployed compared to other social categories," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 37-43.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:43:y:2013:i:c:p:37-43 DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2013.01.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    2. Gangl, Katharina & Kastlunger, Barbara & Kirchler, Erich & Voracek, Martin, 2012. "Confidence in the economy in times of crisis: Social representations of experts and laypeople," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 603-614.
    3. Ezzy, Douglas, 1993. "Unemployment and mental health: A critical review," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 41-52, July.
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