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Towards an understanding of the endogenous nature of group identification in games

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Listed:
  • Smith, John
  • Bezrukova, Katerina

Abstract

It is commonly assumed that identification with a social group is constant throughout the play of a one-shot game in the absence of feedback. We provide evidence which challenges this assumption. We direct subjects to play one of two versions of the prisoner's dilemma game. These versions are distinguished by the relative attractiveness of the uncooperative action. We refer to the version with a relatively attractive uncooperative action as the Easy Game and the other as the Difficult Game. We find that for the subjects who play the Difficult Game, their change in group identification is significantly related to their action selected. No such relationship exists within the Easy Game. Additionally, we find that the change primarily occurs after the action is selected rather than upon inspection of the game. We discuss the implications of our findings to settings both inside and outside of the laboratory.

Suggested Citation

  • Smith, John & Bezrukova, Katerina, 2012. "Towards an understanding of the endogenous nature of group identification in games," MPRA Paper 37356, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:37356
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fernando Aguiar & Pablo Branas-Garza & Maria Paz Espinosa & Luis Miller, 2010. "Personal identity: a theoretical and experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 261-275.
    2. Schotter, Andrew & Weiss, Avi & Zapater, Inigo, 1996. "Fairness and survival in ultimatum and dictatorship games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 37-56, October.
    3. Ahmed, Ali M., 2007. "Group identity, social distance and intergroup bias," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 324-337, June.
    4. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Group Identification; Experimental Game Theory; Endogenous Preferences; Social Identity; Decision Difficulty;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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