Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1752258
 
 

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Inequality and Riots – Experimental Evidence


Klaus Abbink


University of Amsterdam - Center for Research in Experimental Economics and Political Decision-Making (CREED); Tinbergen Institute - Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam (TIA)

David Masclet


Université de Rennes I; M@rsouin

Daniel Mirza


François Rabelais University

January 31, 2011

CIRANO - Scientific Publication No. 2011s-10

Abstract:     
We study the relationship between inequality and inter-groups conflicts (riots), focusing on social inequality. Disadvantaged societal groups experience discrimination and thus have limited access to some social and labour resources like education or employment. First, we experimentally investigate whether social inequality is a driving force of inter-group conflicts. Second, we investigate the factors that make preferences for riot translate into actions. Riots require coordination. Our experiment consists of a two-stage game. First, subjects play a proportional rent-seeking game to share a prize. Social inequality is modeled exogenously 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. In a second stage players can coordinate with the other members of their group to reduce (“burn”) the other group members’ payoff. Treatments differ in the degree of social inequality set between the two groups. We observe frequent social conflicts, where, as expected, disadvantaged groups riot more than advantaged groups. Surprisingly, the frequency of riots decreases with the degree of inequality. A control treatment allows us to identify resignation as the driving force behind this phenomenon.

Keywords: Design of Experiments, Experimental Economics, Social Inequality, Conflicts

JEL Classification: D72, C91

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Date posted: January 31, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Abbink, Klaus and Masclet, David and Mirza, Daniel, Inequality and Riots – Experimental Evidence (January 31, 2011). CIRANO - Scientific Publication No. 2011s-10. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1752258 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1752258

Contact Information

Klaus Abbink
University of Amsterdam - Center for Research in Experimental Economics and Political Decision-Making (CREED) ( email )
Faculty of Economics and Econometrics
Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands
Tinbergen Institute - Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam (TIA) ( email )
Gustav Mahlerplein 117
Amsterdam, 1082 MS
Netherlands
David Masclet (Contact Author)
Université de Rennes I ( email )
7, Place Hoche
35065 Rennes Cedex
France
M@rsouin (Môle Amoricain de Recherche sur la Société de l'information et les Usages d'Internet) ( email )
France

Daniel Mirza
François Rabelais University ( email )
Parc de Grandmont
F-37200 Tours
United States
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