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Social Centipedes: the Impact of Group Identity on Preferences and Reasoning

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Abstract

Using a group identity manipulation we examine the role of social preferences in an experimental one-shot centipede game. Contrary to what social preference theory would predict, we fnd that players continue longer when playing with outgroup members. The explanation we provide for this result rests on two observations: (i) players should only stop if they are suffciently conident that their partner will stop at the next node, given the exponentially-increasing payoffs in the game, and (ii) players are more likely to have this degree of certainty if they are matched with someone from the same group, whom they view as similar to themselves and thus predictable. We find strong statistical support for this argument. We conclude that group identity not only impacts a player's utility function, as identifed in earlier research, but also affects her reasoning about her partner's behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • James Tremewan & Chloé Le Coq & Alexander D. Wagner, 2013. "Social Centipedes: the Impact of Group Identity on Preferences and Reasoning," Vienna Economics Papers 1305, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:vie:viennp:1305
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kulesz, Micaela M. & Dittrich, Dennis A. V., 2014. "Intergenerational Cooperation: an Experimental Study on Beliefs," MPRA Paper 58584, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. repec:wly:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:602:p:1047-1068 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Francesco Guala & Antonio Filippin, 2017. "The Effect of Group Identity on Distributive Choice: Social Preference or Heuristic?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(602), pages 1047-1068, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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