IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/mpi/wpaper/tax-mpg-rps-2019-19.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

We, the Rich: Inequality, Identity and Cooperation in Complex Societies

Author

Listed:
  • Andrea F.M. Martinangeli
  • Peter Martinsson

Abstract

Inequality not only generates status differentials between rich and poor individuals, it also generates status differentials between groups of different composition and income level. We organise the social structure within which groups are embedded to directly manipulate the processes of categorization, identiï¬ cation and comparison to induce weaker or stronger group identities. How well individuals cooperate within each of such groups will ultimately determine the degree of cooperativeness within the whole society. We ï¬ nd that the impact of inequality on social cooperativeness is as complex as is the social structure itself: cooperation varies with the strength of the group’s identity as predicted by social identity theory. In particular, high endowment homogeneous groups cooperate most and increasingly over time. Low endowment homogeneous groups display intermediate levels of cooperation. Heterogeneous groups cooperate least, a result driven by lack of cooperation on behalf of the rich. When comparing with an analogous fully homogeneous society, we show that the resulting net impact of inequality on social cooperation is not obvious.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea F.M. Martinangeli & Peter Martinsson, 2019. "We, the Rich: Inequality, Identity and Cooperation in Complex Societies," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2019-19, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:mpi:wpaper:tax-mpg-rps-2019-19
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.tax.mpg.de/RePEc/mpi/wpaper/TAX-MPG-RPS-2019-19.pdf
    File Function: Full text (original version)
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Keser, Claudia & Markstädter, Andreas & Schmidt, Martin, 2017. "Mandatory minimum contributions, heterogeneous endowments and voluntary public-good provision," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 291-310.
    2. Weng, Qian & Carlsson, Fredrik, 2015. "Cooperation in teams: The role of identity, punishment, and endowment distribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 25-38.
    3. Visser, M. & Burns, J., 2015. "Inequality, social sanctions and cooperation within South African fishing communities," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 95-109.
    4. Bigoni, Maria & Rattini, Veronica, 2018. "A Tale of Two Cities: An Experiment on Inequality and Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 11758, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Armin Falk & James J. Heckman, 2009. "Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," Working Papers 200935, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    6. Lorenz Goette & David Huffman & Stephan Meier, 2006. "The Impact of Group Membership on Cooperation and Norm Enforcement: Evidence Using Random Assignment to Real Social Groups," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 212-216, May.
    7. Ben Greiner, 2015. "Subject pool recruitment procedures: organizing experiments with ORSEE," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(1), pages 114-125, July.
    8. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2011. "Identity, Morals, and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 805-855.
    9. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    10. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    11. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
    12. Claudia Keser & Frans Van Winden, 2000. "Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 23-39, March.
    13. Cherry, Todd L. & Kroll, Stephan & Shogren, Jason F., 2005. "The impact of endowment heterogeneity and origin on public good contributions: evidence from the lab," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 357-365, July.
    14. Andre Hofmeyr & Justine Burns & Martine Visser, 2007. "Income Inequality, Reciprocity And Public Good Provision: An Experimental Analysis," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 75(3), pages 508-520, September.
    15. Rachel E. Kranton, 2016. "Identity Economics 2016: Where Do Social Distinctions and Norms Come From?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 405-409, May.
    16. Chakravarty, Surajeet & Fonseca, Miguel A., 2014. "The effect of social fragmentation on public good provision: An experimental study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 1-9.
    17. Bernard, Mark & Hett, Florian & Mechtel, Mario, 2016. "Social identity and social free-riding," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 4-17.
    18. Kenneth S. Chan & Stuart Mestelman & Rob Moir & R. Andrew Muller Moir, 1996. "The Voluntary Provision of Public Goods under Varying Income Distributions," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(1), pages 54-69, February.
    19. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
    20. Peter Martinsson & Clara Villegas-Palacio & Conny Wollbrant, 2015. "Cooperation and social classes: evidence from Colombia," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 45(4), pages 829-848, December.
    21. Solow, John L. & Kirkwood, Nicole, 2002. "Group identity and gender in public goods experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 403-412, August.
    22. Matthew McCarter & Anya Samek & Roman Sheremeta, 2014. "Divided Loyalists or Conditional Cooperators? Creating Consensus About Cooperation in Multiple Simultaneous Social Dilemmas," Artefactual Field Experiments 00441, The Field Experiments Website.
    23. Reuben, Ernesto & Riedl, Arno, 2013. "Enforcement of contribution norms in public good games with heterogeneous populations," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 122-137.
    24. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    25. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
    26. Charness, Gary & Cobo-Reyes, Ramón & Jiménez, Natalia, 2014. "Identities, selection, and contributions in a public-goods game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 322-338.
    27. Cardenas, Juan-Camilo, 2003. "Real wealth and experimental cooperation: experiments in the field lab," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 263-289, April.
    28. Shayo, Moses, 2009. "A Model of Social Identity with an Application to Political Economy: Nation, Class, and Redistribution," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 103(2), pages 147-174, May.
    29. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2005. "Managing diversity by creating team identity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 371-392, November.
    30. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    31. Buckley, Edward & Croson, Rachel, 2006. "Income and wealth heterogeneity in the voluntary provision of linear public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 935-955, May.
    32. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gächter, 2013. "Living In Two Neighborhoods—Social Interaction Effects In The Laboratory," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 563-578, January.
    33. Sadrieh, Abdolkarim & Verbon, Harrie A.A., 2006. "Inequality, cooperation, and growth: An experimental study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 1197-1222, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Martinangeli, Andrea F.M. & Martinsson, Peter, 2020. "We, the rich: Inequality, identity and cooperation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 249-266.
    2. Weng, Qian & Carlsson, Fredrik, 2015. "Cooperation in teams: The role of identity, punishment, and endowment distribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 25-38.
    3. Reuben, Ernesto & Riedl, Arno, 2013. "Enforcement of contribution norms in public good games with heterogeneous populations," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 122-137.
    4. Tobias Cagala & Ulrich Glogowsky & Veronika Grimm & Johannes Rincke, 2019. "Public Goods Provision with Rent-extracting Administrators," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(620), pages 1593-1617.
    5. Andrea F. M. Martinangeli, 2017. "Do What (You Think) the Rich Will Do: Inequality and Belief Heterogeneity in Public Good Provision," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2017-06_4, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
    6. Markussen, Thomas & Sharma, Smriti & Singhal, Saurabh & Tarp, Finn, 2021. "Inequality, institutions and cooperation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 138(C).
    7. Bicskei, Marianna & Lankau, Matthias & Bizer, Kilian, 2016. "Negative reciprocity and its relation to anger-like emotions in identity-homogeneous and -heterogeneous groups," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 17-34.
    8. Chakravarty, Surajeet & Fonseca, Miguel A., 2014. "The effect of social fragmentation on public good provision: An experimental study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 1-9.
    9. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Molis, Elena & Neyse, Levent, 2021. "Exposure to inequality may cause under-provision of public goods: Experimental evidence," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 92(C).
    10. Robert J. Oxoby & John Spraggon, 2013. "A Clear And Present Minority: Heterogeneity In The Source Of Endowments And The Provision Of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(4), pages 2071-2082, October.
    11. Khadjavi, Menusch & Lange, Andreas & Nicklisch, Andreas, 2014. "The Social Value of Transparency and Accountability: Experimental Evidence from Asymmetric Public Good Games," VfS Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100512, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Gangadharan, Lata & Nikiforakis, Nikos & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2017. "Normative conflict and the limits of self-governance in heterogeneous populations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 143-156.
    13. Balafoutas, Loukas & Kocher, Martin G. & Putterman, Louis & Sutter, Matthias, 2013. "Equality, equity and incentives: An experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 32-51.
    14. Alexander Smith, "undated". "Group Composition and Conditional Cooperation," Working Papers 2010-11, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 19 Jan 2010.
    15. Bicskei, Marianna & Lankau, Matthias & Bizer, Kilian, 2014. "How peer-punishment affects cooperativeness in homogeneous and heterogeneous groups: A public goods experiment with social identity," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 200, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    16. Abhijit Ramalingam & Brock V. Stoddard, 2020. "Old habits die hard: The experience of inequality and persistence of low cooperation," Working Papers 20-07, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    17. Khadjavi, Menusch & Lange, Andreas & Nicklisch, Andreas, 2017. "How transparency may corrupt − experimental evidence from asymmetric public goods games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 468-481.
    18. Smith, Alexander, 2011. "Group composition and conditional cooperation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 616-622.
    19. Jonathan Maurice & Agathe Rouaix & Marc Willinger, 2013. "Income Redistribution And Public Good Provision: An Experiment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54(3), pages 957-975, August.
    20. Drouvelis, Michalis & Malaeb, Bilal & Vlassopoulos, Michael & Wahba, Jackline, 2021. "Cooperation in a fragmented society: Experimental evidence on Syrian refugees and natives in Lebanon," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 176-191.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    experiment; inequality; multiple groups; public goods; social identity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mpi:wpaper:tax-mpg-rps-2019-19. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/mptaxde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Hans Mueller (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/mptaxde.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.