EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

The Impact of Group Membership on Cooperation and Norm Enforcement: Evidence using Random Assignment to Real Social Groups

Lorenz Götte (), David Huffman () and Stephan Meier ()
Additional contact information
Lorenz Götte: University of Bonn

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Lorenz Goette ()

No 2020, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: Due to incomplete contracts, efficiency of an organization depends on willingness of individuals to take non-selfish actions, e.g., cooperate when there is no incentive to do so, or punish inefficient actions by others. Organizations also constitute a social boundary, or group. We investigate whether this social aspect of organizations has an important benefit, fostering unselfish cooperation and norm enforcement within the group, but whether there is also a dark side, in the form of hostility between groups. Our experiment provides the first evidence without the confounding effect of self-selection into groups. Individuals are randomly assigned to different platoons during a four-week portion of officer training in the Swiss Army. We conduct choice experiments – simultaneous prisoner’s dilemma games, with and without third-party punishment – in week three. Random assignment significantly increases willingness to cooperate with fellow platoon members. Assignment does not lead to hostility, in the sense of vindictive punishment of outsiders, but does affect norm enforcement, enhancing willingness to enforce a norm of cooperation towards fellow platoon members. This suggests that the social aspect of organizations motivates efficient behavior even when ordinary incentives fail, and helps explain practices designed to foster social ties or group identification within an organization.

Keywords: social identity; punishment; organizations; in-group favoritism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D01 D23 J00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 24 pages
Date: 2006-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-evo, nep-exp, nep-soc and nep-ure
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (241) Track citations by RSS feed

Published in: American Economic Review, 2006, 96 (2), 212-216

Downloads: (external link)
http://ftp.iza.org/dp2020.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: The Impact of Group Membership on Cooperation and Norm Enforcement: Evidence Using Random Assignment to Real Social Groups (2006) Downloads
Working Paper: The impact of group membership on cooperation and norm enforcement: evidence using random assignment to real social groups (2006) 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: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2020

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Holger Hinte ().

 
Page updated 2020-10-24
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2020