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Cognitive Ability and In-group Bias: An Experimental Study

Fabian Paetzel () and Rupert Sausgruber ()
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Fabian Paetzel: Department of Economics & FOR 2104, Helmut-Schmidt-University
Rupert Sausgruber: Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business

Department of Economics Working Papers from Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: cognitive ability; group identity; entitlements; social preferences; minimal groups; punishment; social norms; social status (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C92 D31 D63 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cdm, nep-exp and nep-hpe
Date: 2018-08
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