Economics at your fingertips  

Inequality and inter-group conflicts: experimental evidence

Klaus Abbink, David Masclet () and Daniel Mirza ()

Social Choice and Welfare, 2018, vol. 50, issue 3, No 1, 387-423

Abstract: Abstract In this paper we experimentally investigate the relationship between inequality and conflicts, the latter taking the shape of rebellious actions. Further, our conflict experiment allows us to study whether lack of coordination or fear of retaliation may refrain individuals from rioting despite their willingness to riot. Our conflict game consists of two-stages. In a first stage, subjects play a proportional rent-seeking game to share a prize. In a second stage, players can coordinate with the other members of their group to reduce (“burn”) the other group members’ payoffs. Our treatments differ in the extent of inequality. Precisely, in the first series of treatments (called symmetric treatments), inequality only arises from different investment behaviors of players in the first stage. In a second series of treatments (called asymmetric treatments), inequality is strongly reinforced by attributing to some subjects (the advantaged group) a larger share of the price than other subjects (the disadvantaged group) for the same amount of effort. While the former refer to inequality of effort the latter is related to exogenous inequality of circumstances (bad luck). We ran these treatments under both partner and stranger matching protocol. Consistent with the assumption of inequality aversion, we observe that disadvantaged groups “burn” significantly more money than advantaged groups in the asymmetric treatment. However, we also observe that the relationship between inequality and conflicts is non-linear since the frequency of conflicts is significantly higher in the symmetric treatment where inequality is moderate compared to the asymmetric treatment where inequality is extreme. Resignation seems to be the main driving force behind this phenomenon. Our findings also shed light on the important role played by coordination.

JEL-codes: D72 C91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) Abstract (text/html)
Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

Related works:
Working Paper: Inequality and inter-group conflicts: experimental evidence (2018)
Working Paper: Inequality and Inter-group Conflicts – Experimental Evidence (2012) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.springer. ... c+theory/journal/355

DOI: 10.1007/s00355-017-1089-x

Access Statistics for this article

Social Choice and Welfare is currently edited by Bhaskar Dutta, Marc Fleurbaey, Elizabeth Maggie Penn and Clemens Puppe

More articles in Social Choice and Welfare from Springer, The Society for Social Choice and Welfare Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla () and Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing ().

Page updated 2020-09-14
Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:50:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s00355-017-1089-x