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Solidarity, responsibility and group identity


  • Costard, Jano
  • Bolle, Friedel


In the Solidarity Game (Selten and Ockenfels, 1998) lucky winners of a lottery can transfer part of their income to unlucky losers. Will losers get smaller transfers if they can be assumed to be (partly) responsible for their zero income because they have chosen riskier lotteries (Trhal and Radermacher, 2009)? Or will risk-lovers and risk-averters develop group identity feelings, leading to larger transfers within, rather than between, the groups (Chen and Li, 2009, for charitable transfers between and within otherwise defined groups)? In an experiment we find behavior to be guided by in-group favoritism. Responsibility for self-inflicted neediness does not seem to play an important role. In-group/out-group behavior is successfully described by a variant of a social utility function suggested by Cappelen et al. (2010).

Suggested Citation

  • Costard, Jano & Bolle, Friedel, 2011. "Solidarity, responsibility and group identity," Discussion Papers 309, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Department of Business Administration and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:euvwdp:309

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Friedel Bolle & Yves Breitmoser & Jana Heimel & Claudia Vogel, 2012. "Multiple motives of pro-social behavior: evidence from the solidarity game," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 72(3), pages 303-321, March.
    2. Alexander W. Cappelen & James Konow & Erik ?. S?rensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2013. "Just Luck: An Experimental Study of Risk-Taking and Fairness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1398-1413, June.
    3. Buchner, Susanne & Coricelli, Giorgio & Greiner, Ben, 2007. "Self-centered and other-regarding behavior in the solidarity game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 293-303, February.
    4. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    5. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
    6. Nadja Trhal & Ralf Radermacher, 2006. "Bad luck vs. self-inflicted neediness – An experimental investigation of gift giving in a solidarity game," Working Paper Series in Economics 28, University of Cologne, Department of Economics, revised 07 Mar 2008.
    7. Helen Bernhard & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2006. "Group Affiliation and Altruistic Norm Enforcement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 217-221, May.
    8. Buitrago, Gelkha & Gueth, Werner & Levati, Maria Vittoria, 2009. "On the relation between impulses to help and causes of neediness: An experimental study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 80-88, January.
    9. Selten, Reinhard & Ockenfels, Axel, 1998. "An experimental solidarity game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 517-539, March.
    10. Gary Charness & Luca Rigotti & Aldo Rustichini, 2007. "Individual Behavior and Group Membership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1340-1352, September.
    11. Vivian Lei & Filip Vesely, 2010. "In-Group versus Out-Group Trust: The Impact of Income Inequality," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 1049-1063, April.
    12. Ben-Ner, Avner & McCall, Brian P. & Stephane, Massoud & Wang, Hua, 2009. "Identity and in-group/out-group differentiation in work and giving behaviors: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 153-170, October.
    13. B. Curtis Eaton & Mukesh Eswaran & Robert J. Oxoby, 2011. "Us and `Them': the origin of identity, and its economic implications," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(3), pages 719-748, August.
    14. Yan Chen & Sherry Xin Li, 2009. "Group Identity and Social Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 431-457, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lübbe, Ingmar & Bolle, Friedel, 2011. "Who helps whom? Risk taking and solidarity in a virtual world experiment," Discussion Papers 310, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Department of Business Administration and Economics.
    2. Lea Cassar & Arnd H. Klein, 2017. "A Matter of Perspective: How Experience Shapes Preferences for Redistribution," CESifo Working Paper Series 6302, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Tom Lane, 2015. "Discrimination in the laboratory: a meta-analysis," Discussion Papers 2015-03, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.

    More about this item


    risky behavior; group identity; solidarity;

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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