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Two's Company, Three's a Group: The impact of group identity and group size on in-group favouritism

Author

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  • Donna Harris

    () (Environmental Economy and Policy Research Group, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, 19 Silver Street, Cambridge, UK, CB3 9EP.)

  • Benedikt Herrmann

    () (CeDEx, School of Economics, University of Nottingham, UK, NG7 2RD.)

  • Andreas Kontoleon

    () (Environmental Economy and Policy Research Group, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, 19 Silver Street, Cambridge, UK, CB3 9EP.)

Abstract

In this study, we use an allocation game to study the effects of group identity and group size on in-group favouritism when the person's own payoff is not affected by her decision. We first show that in a triadic setting when the subjects are asked to allocate a fixed amount of resource between two other anonymous individuals, the majority of the subjects choose to allocate equal amounts to both the in-group and the out-group members. Contrary to previous studies, when group identity is induced artificially by simply telling the subjects that they belong to the same `group', it does not appear to significantly increase the amount allocated to the in-group member relative to the out-group member in a triadic setting. However, once the number of the in-group recipients is increased from one to three, the same artificial group identity triggers a sharp increase in in-group favouritism. Our results suggest that in order for favouritism to be clearly observed, not only that group identity has to be present, but also the group needs to consist of more than two members.

Suggested Citation

  • Donna Harris & Benedikt Herrmann & Andreas Kontoleon, 2009. "Two's Company, Three's a Group: The impact of group identity and group size on in-group favouritism," Environmental Economy and Policy Research Working Papers 41.2009, University of Cambridge, Department of Land Economics, revised 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:lnd:wpaper:412009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Oliver Kirchkamp & Ulrike Vollstädt, 2012. "Bargaining with Two-Person-Groups - On the Insignificance of the Patient Partner," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-043, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    2. Donna Harris & Benedikt Herrmann & Andreas Kontoleon & Jonathan Newton, 2015. "Is it a norm to favour your own group?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(3), pages 491-521, September.
    3. repec:kap:expeco:v:20:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10683-016-9502-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Tor Eriksson & Lei Mao & Marie Claire Villeval, 2017. "Saving face and group identity," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(3), pages 622-647, September.
    5. Kirchkamp, Oliver & Vollstädt, Ulrike, 2014. "Bilateral bargaining of heterogeneous groups—How significant are patient partners?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 433-441.
    6. Tom Lane, 2015. "Discrimination in the laboratory: a meta-analysis," Discussion Papers 2015-03, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Favouritism; Group Identity; Group Behaviour; Group Size; Laboratory Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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