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Identities, selection, and contributions in a public-goods game

Gary Charness (), Ramon Cobo-Reyes and Natalia Jiménez ()

Games and Economic Behavior, 2014, vol. 87, issue C, 322-338

Abstract: The notions of one's social identity and group membership have recently become topics for economic theory and experiments, and recent research has shown the importance of identity in a wide array of economic environments. But predictions are unclear when there is some trade-off between one's identity (e.g., race, gender, handedness) and potential monetary considerations. We conduct a public-goods experiment in which we permit endogenous group-formation. In a 2×2 design, we vary whether people participate in a team-building exercise and whether some people receive an endowment twice as much as others receive. We find that when both identity and financial considerations are present, high-endowment participants are strongly attracted to each other, with one's word-task-group affiliation eclipsed by the opportunity to earn more. Nevertheless, the team-building exercise greatly increases the level of contribution whether or not one is linked to people from one's team-building exercise.

Keywords: Experiment; Identity; Team building; Public goods contributions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A13 C91 C92 D03 J41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2014.05.002

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