Whom Can I Trust? A Cooperative Contingencies Model of Strategic Intergroup Bias

57 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2013 Last revised: 27 Nov 2013

Date Written: November 26, 2013


We advance the Cooperative Contingencies Model (CCM) as an account for how and why intergroup segregation and disparities (e.g., in education, health, employment, justice) persist despite positive shifts in intergroup attitudes. Life in human societies hinges on cooperation, but decisions to cooperate with others are often risky. The CCM posits that because groups facilitate cooperation, decision-makers often have an instrumental incentive to preferentially coordinate with ingroup (over outgroup) members. Importantly, this incentive operates independently from other contributors to bias (e.g., social identity, ideology) and thus exists even for egalitarians. The CCM further posits, however, that the incentive to preferentially coordinate with ingroup members is contingent on the full set of cooperative requirements (how much people need to cooperate) and cooperative affordances (mechanisms available to facilitate cooperation) perceived in current contexts. Hypotheses regarding when people will exhibit strategic intergroup biases and how they can be reduced are derived from the model.

Keywords: intergroup relations, intergroup bias, prejudice, cooperation, interdependence, trust, decision-making

Suggested Citation

Packer, Dominic and Kugler, Matthew B., Whom Can I Trust? A Cooperative Contingencies Model of Strategic Intergroup Bias (November 26, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2234780 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2234780

Dominic Packer (Contact Author)

Lehigh University ( email )

17 Memorial Dr. East
Bethlehem, PA 18015
United States

Matthew B. Kugler

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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