Ageism & Cooperation
35 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2012 Last revised: 3 Jul 2014
Date Written: November 12, 2013
While age-based discrimination is considered undesirable, we know little about the accuracy of age stereotypes and their effects on cooperation. To investigate the effects of age stereotypes on cooperation, we presented older adults (over age 50) and younger adults (under age 25) with incentivized belief elicitation tasks (about anticipated interaction behaviors) and then a series of same, different, and unknown-aged group interactions in a sender-receiver game. All adults shared consensual stereotypes about uncooperative younger adults and cooperative older adults that demonstrated “wisdom of crowds”. While the out-group was consistently stereotyped as relatively different and more uncooperative than observed to be, the in-group was neither consistently stereotyped more accurately nor treated more cooperatively. Younger adults earned more by acting uncooperatively with older adults and older adults earned less by acting cooperatively with younger adults (despite beliefs). We discuss how the ageism observed is relevant to intergenerational cooperation in an aging society.
NOTE: A subsequent version of this paper entitled "Ageism, Honesty, and Trust" was accepted by the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics.
Keywords: ageism, intergenerational interaction, stereotypes, discrimination, cooperation, economic experiment, social identity theory
JEL Classification: C71, C91, J14, J26, M12, M51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation