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Cognitive Ability and In-group Bias: An Experimental Study

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  • Fabian Paetzel

    (Department of Economics & FOR 2104, Helmut-Schmidt-University)

  • Rupert Sausgruber

    (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business)

Abstract

We study the role of performance differences in a task requiring cognitive effort on in-group bias. We show that the in-group bias is strong in groups consisting of high-performing members, and it is weak in low-performing groups. This holds although high-performing subjects exhibit no in-group bias as members of minimal groups, whereas low-performing subjects strongly do. We also observe instances of low-performing subjects punishing the in-group favoritism of low-performing peers. The same does not occur in high-performing or minimal groups where subjects generally accept that decisions are in-group biased.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabian Paetzel & Rupert Sausgruber, 2018. "Cognitive Ability and In-group Bias: An Experimental Study," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp265, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwwuw:wuwp265
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    4. El-Bialy, Nora & Fraile Aranda, Elisa & Nicklisch, Andreas & Saleh, Lamis & Voigt, Stefan, 2021. "To cooperate or not to cooperate? An analysis of in-group favoritism among Syrian refugees," ILE Working Paper Series 48, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cognitive ability; group identity; entitlements; social preferences; minimal groups; punishment; social norms; social status;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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