Out-Group Favouritism

8 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2009

See all articles by Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap

Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap

University of East Anglia (UEA) - School of Economic and Social Studies

Arjan Verschoor

University of East Anglia (UEA)

Daniel John Zizzo

University of Queensland

Date Written: July 1, 2009


In-group favouritism, the practice of treating fellow members of a group better than outsiders is commonplace in social life. It has been observed in the field and the laboratory. Treating people differently in this way is not only a source of tension between groups, when conflict occurs between groups, it may also be linked to the evolutionary development of altruistic or cooperative behaviour within the group. We report here on what may seem, in this context, a surprising experimental result: a form of out-group favouritism in a trust game that is played among the Gisu in Uganda. There is, however, some evidence in the experiment that the absence of in-group favouritism is accompanied by a negligible influence of group membership on trust between fellow group members. This is consistent with those evolutionary arguments which link parochialism (i.e. hostility to outsiders) to altruism (within the group) in the sense that the absence of one is also associated with the absence of the other. Both results reinforce the thought that evolutionary accounts of behaviour should not always assume inter-group hostility and more attention needs to be given to the circumstances under which the character of inter-group relations varies.

Keywords: trust, parochialism, groups, outgroup favouritism

JEL Classification: C91, D64, J71

Suggested Citation

Hargreaves Heap, Shaun and Verschoor, Arjan and Zizzo, Daniel John, Out-Group Favouritism (July 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1428937 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1428937

Shaun Hargreaves Heap

University of East Anglia (UEA) - School of Economic and Social Studies ( email )

Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom
+44 (0)1603 593417 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uea.ac.uk/soc/econ/people/hargreavesheap_s.shtml

Arjan Verschoor

University of East Anglia (UEA) ( email )

Norwich Research Park
Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom

Daniel John Zizzo (Contact Author)

University of Queensland ( email )

St Lucia QLD 4072, Australia
Brisbane, Queensland

HOME PAGE: http://www.danielzizzo.com

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