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Intergroup revenge: a laboratory experiment on the causes

David Hugh-Jones () and Martin Leroch

No 1510, Working Papers from Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Abstract: Field studies of conflict report cycles of mutual revenge between groups, often linked to perceptions of intergroup injustice. Which motivations account for such behavior is, however, not clear. We test the hypothesis that people are predisposed to reciprocate against groups. In a laboratory experiment, subjects who were harmed by a partner’s uncooperative action reacted by harming other members of the partner’s group. This group reciprocity was only observed when one group was seen as unfairly advantaged. Our results support a behavioral mechanism leading from perceived injustice to intergroup conflict. We discuss the relevance of group reciprocity to political and economic phenomena including conflict, discrimination and team competition.

Pages: 30 pages
Date: 2015
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo, nep-exp and nep-soc
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https://download.uni-mainz.de/RePEc/pdf/Discussion_Paper_1510.pdf First version, 2015 (application/pdf)

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:jgu:wpaper:1510

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