Cognitive Ability and In-group Bias: An Experimental Study

Paetzel, Fabian and Sausgruber, Rupert (2018) Cognitive Ability and In-group Bias: An Experimental Study. Department of Economics Working Paper Series, 265. WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna.


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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.

Item Type: Paper
Keywords: cognitive ability, group identity, entitlements, social preferences, minimal groups, punishment, social norms, social status
Classification Codes: JEL C92, D31, D63
Divisions: Departments > Volkswirtschaft
Depositing User: Claudia Tering-Raunig
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2018 11:32
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2019 00:41


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