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Is it a Norm to Favour Your Own Group?

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  • Donna Harris
  • Benedikt Herrmann
  • Andreas Kontoleon
  • Jonathan Newton

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between norm enforcement and in-group favouritism behaviour. Using a new two-stage allocation experiment with punishments, we investigate whether in-group favouritism is considered as a social norm in itself or as a violation of a different norm, such as egalitarian norm. We find that which norm of behaviour is enforced depends on who the punisher is. If the punishers belong to the in-group, in-group favouritism is considered a norm and it does not get punished. If the punishers belong to the out-group, in-group favouritism is frequently punished. If the punishers belong to no group and merely observe in-group favouritism (the third-party), they do not seem to care sufficiently to be willing to punish this behavour. Our results shed a new light on the effectiveness of altruistic norm enforcement when group identities are taken into account and help to explain why in-group favouritism is widespread across societies.

Suggested Citation

  • Donna Harris & Benedikt Herrmann & Andreas Kontoleon & Jonathan Newton, 2014. "Is it a Norm to Favour Your Own Group?," Economics Series Working Papers 719, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:719
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/13407/paper719.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Abigail Barr & Tom Lane & Daniele Nosenzo, 2015. "On the social appropriateness of discrimination," Discussion Papers 2015-25, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Paetzel, Fabian & Sausgruber, Rupert, 2017. "Entitlements and Loyalty in Groups: An Experimental Study," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168224, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Solferino, Nazaria & Taurino, SerenaFiona & Tessitore, M.Elisabetta, 2016. "Boosting cooperation between agents in diverse groups: a dynamical model of prosocial behavior, free-riding and coercive solutions," MPRA Paper 71283, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    In-group Favouritism; Group Identity; Social Norms; In-group Punishment; Out-group Punishment; Third-party Punishment;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption

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