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Ingratiation and Favoritism: Experimental Evidence


  • Robin, Stéphane R.

    () (Université catholique de Louvain)

  • Rusinowska, Agnieszka

    () (Paris School of Economics)

  • Villeval, Marie Claire

    () (CNRS, GATE)


We provide experimental evidence of workers' ingratiation by opinion conformity and of managers' discrimination in favor of workers with whom they share similar opinions. In our Baseline, managers can observe both workers' performance at a task and opinions before assigning unequal payoffs. In the Ingratiation treatment, workers can change their opinion after learning that held by the manager. In the Random treatment, workers can also change opinion but payoffs are assigned randomly, which gives a measure of non-strategic opinion conformism. We find evidence of high ingratiation indices, as overall, ingratiation is effective. Indeed, managers reward opinion conformity, and even more so when opinions cannot be manipulated. Additional treatments reveal that ingratiation is cost sensitive and that the introduction of performance pay for managers as well as a less noisy measure of performance increase the role of relative performance in the assignment of payoffs, without eliminating the reward of opinion conformity.

Suggested Citation

  • Robin, Stéphane R. & Rusinowska, Agnieszka & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2012. "Ingratiation and Favoritism: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 6530, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6530

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    Cited by:

    1. Karakostas, Alexandros & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2016. "Compliance and the power of authority," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 67-80.

    More about this item


    social distance; ingratiation; opinion conformity; favoritism; discrimination; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions

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