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Saving Face and Group Identity

Author

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  • Tor Eriksson

    (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University. Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, Denmark)

  • Lei Mao

    (School of Insurance, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing, China)

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69007, France ; CNRS, GATE Lyon Saint-Etienne, Ecully, F-69130, France; Université Lyon 2, Lyon, F-69007, France)

Abstract

Are people willing to sacrifice resources to save one’s and others’ face? In a laboratory experiment, we study whether individuals forego resources to avoid the public exposure of the least performer in their group. We show that a majority of individuals are willing to pay to preserve not only their self- but also other group members’ image. This behavior is frequent even in the absence of group identity. When group identity is more salient, individuals help regardless of whether the least performer is an in-group or an out-group. This suggests that saving others’ face is a strong social norm.

Suggested Citation

  • Tor Eriksson & Lei Mao & Marie Claire Villeval, 2015. "Saving Face and Group Identity," Working Papers 1515, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
  • Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:1515
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    Cited by:

    1. Ferdinand A. von Siemens, 2020. "I care what you think: social image concerns and the strategic revelation of past pro-social behavior," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(1), pages 43-56, June.
    2. Benistant, Julien & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2019. "Unethical behavior and group identity in contests," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 128-155.
    3. Friedrichsen, Jana & König, Tobias & Schmacker, Renke, 2018. "Social image concerns and welfare take-up," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 174-192.
    4. Müller, Daniel, 2019. "The anatomy of distributional preferences with group identity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 785-807.
    5. David Gill & Zdenka Kissová & Jaesun Lee & Victoria Prowse, 2019. "First-Place Loving and Last-Place Loathing: How Rank in the Distribution of Performance Affects Effort Provision," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(2), pages 494-507, February.
    6. Cadsby, C. Bram & Du, Ninghua & Song, Fei, 2016. "In-group favoritism and moral decision-making," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 59-71.
    7. Erkal, Nisvan & Gangadharan, Lata & Koh, Boon Han, 2018. "Monetary and non-monetary incentives in real-effort tournaments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 528-545.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Saving face; social image; pro-social behavior; group identity; experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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