Maximization of Absolute vs. Relative Gains in Intergroup Conflicts

27 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2008

See all articles by Nir Halevy

Nir Halevy

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Gary Bornstein

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Jerusalem School of Business Administration

Lilach Sagiv

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Jerusalem School of Business Administration

Date Written: November 9, 2008

Abstract

What motivates individual self-sacrificial behavior in intergroup conflicts? Is it the altruistic desire to help the ingroup or the aggressive drive to hurt the outgroup? This paper introduces a new game paradigm, the Intergroup Prisoner's Dilemma - Maximizing Difference (IPD-MD) game, designed specifically to distinguish between these two motives. The game involves two groups. Each group member is given a monetary endowment and can decide how much of it to contribute. Contribution can be made to either of two pools, one which benefits the ingroup at a personal cost, and another which, in addition, harms the outgroup. An experiment demonstrated that contributions in the IPD-MD game are made almost exclusively to the cooperative within-group pool. Moreover, pre-play intragroup communication increases intragroup cooperation but not intergroup competition. These results are compared with those observed in the Intergroup Prisoner's Dilemma (IPD) game, where group members' contributions are restricted to the competitive between-group pool.

Suggested Citation

Halevy, Nir and Bornstein, Gary and Sagiv, Lilach, Maximization of Absolute vs. Relative Gains in Intergroup Conflicts (November 9, 2008). IACM 21st Annual Conference Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1298610 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1298610

Nir Halevy (Contact Author)

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Gary Bornstein

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Jerusalem School of Business Administration ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel

Lilach Sagiv

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Jerusalem School of Business Administration ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
972 2 652 1841 (Phone)

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