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Religious fragmentation, social identity and cooperation: Evidence from a artefactual field experiment in India

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  • Surajeet Chakravarty

    (Department of Economics, University of Exeter)

  • Miguel A. Fonseca

    (Department of Economics, University of Exeter)

  • Sudeep Ghosh

    (Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

  • Sugata Marjit

    (Center for Studies in the Social Sciences, Calcutta.)

Abstract

We study the role of village-level religious fragmentation on intra- and inter-group cooperation in India. We report on data on two-player Prisoners’ Dilemma and Stag Hunt experiments played by 516 Hindu and Muslim participants in rural India. Our treatments are the identity of the two players and the degree of village-level religious heterogeneity. In religiously-heterogeneous villages, cooperation rates in the Prisoners’ Dilemma are higher when subjects play with another in-group member for both Hindus and Muslims, but to a much lesser extent in the Stag Hunt game. This suggests that positive in-group biases operate primarily on the willingness to achieve socially efficient outcomes, rather than through beliefs about the actions by one's counterpart. Interestingly, cooperation rates among people of the same religion are significantly lower in homogeneous villages than in fragmented villages in both games. This is likely because a sense of group identity is only meaningful in the presence of an out-group. This, together with little evidence for out-group prejudice in either game, means religious diversity is beneficial.

Suggested Citation

  • Surajeet Chakravarty & Miguel A. Fonseca & Sudeep Ghosh & Sugata Marjit, 2015. "Religious fragmentation, social identity and cooperation: Evidence from a artefactual field experiment in India," Discussion Papers 1501, University of Exeter, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:exe:wpaper:1501
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    1. Chakravarty, Surajeet & Choo, Lawrence & Fonseca, Miguel A. & Kaplan, Todd R., 2021. "Should regulators always be transparent? a bank run experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 136(C).
    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, University of Exeter, Department of Economics.
    4. Lia Q. Flores & Miguel A. Fonseca, 2022. "Do in-group biases lead to overconfidence in performance? Experimental evidence," CEF.UP Working Papers 2202, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    5. Xia, Weiwei & Guo, Xiaohan & Luo, Jun & Ye, Hang & Chen, Yefeng & Chen, Shu & Xia, Weisen, 2021. "Religious identity, between-group effects and prosocial behavior: Evidence from a field experiment in China," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    6. Maria Bigoni & Stefania Bortolotti & Veronica Rattini, 2022. "A tale of two cities: an experiment on inequality and preferences," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 92(1), pages 189-222, February.
    7. Matthias Basedau & Simone Gobien & Lisa Hoffmann, 2022. "Identity threats and ideas of superiority as drivers of religious violence? Evidence from a survey experiment in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 59(3), pages 395-408, May.
    8. Maiti, Surya Nath & Pakrashi, Debayan & Saha, Sarani & Smyth, Russell, 2022. "Don't judge a book by its cover: The role of intergroup contact in reducing prejudice in conflict settings," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 202(C), pages 533-548.
    9. Chakravarty, Surajeet & Fonseca, Miguel A. & Ghosh, Sudeep & Kumar, Pradeep & Marjit, Sugata, 2019. "Religious fragmentation, social identity and other-regarding preferences: Evidence from an artefactual field experiment in India," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    10. Matthias Basedau & Simone Gobien & Sebastian Prediger, 2018. "The Multidimensional Effects Of Religion On Socioeconomic Development: A Review Of The Empirical Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(4), pages 1106-1133, September.
    11. Cason, Timothy N. & Lau, Sau-Him Paul & Mui, Vai-Lam, 2019. "Prior interaction, identity, and cooperation in the Inter-group Prisoner's Dilemma," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 613-629.
    12. Lisa Hoffmann & Matthias Basedau & Simone Gobien & Sebastian Prediger, 2020. "Universal Love or One True Religion? Experimental Evidence of the Ambivalent Effect of Religious Ideas on Altruism and Discrimination," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 64(3), pages 603-620, July.
    13. Lia Q. Flores & Miguel A. Fonseca, 2021. "Do in-group biases lead to overconfidence in performance? Experimental evidence," Discussion Papers 2103, University of Exeter, Department of Economics.
    14. Schütt, Christoph & Pipke, David & Detlefsen, Lena & Grimalda, Gianluca, 2022. "Does ethnic heterogeneity decrease workers' effort in the presence of income redistribution? An experimental analysis," Kiel Working Papers 2228, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    15. Surajeet Chakravarty & Miguel A Fonseca & Sudeep Ghosh & Sugata Marjit, 2016. "Religious Fragmentation, Social Identity and Conflict: Evidence from an Artefactual Field Experiment in India," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 11(10), pages 1-17, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social Identity; Social Fragmentation; Artefactual Field Experiment.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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