Deconstructing Nepotism

49 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2013

See all articles by Sheheryar Banuri

Sheheryar Banuri

University of East Anglia (UEA) - School of Economic and Social Studies; University of East Anglia (UEA) - Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS)

Catherine C. Eckel

Texas A&M University

Rick K. Wilson

Rice University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: November 26, 2012

Abstract

We present a laboratory experiment to test the strength of two motives for engaging in nepotism: beliefs and favoritism. Using real-world groups, nepotism is introduced by allowing partner selection in the trust game. The design varies: (1) the productivity of group members and (2) the ability to select partners. We find beliefs to be the predominant motive, while favoritism plays a role when group members are equally productive. Partnering with group members is always profitable, except when group members are less productive and partner selection is unavailable. These results help explain why nepotism persists.

Keywords: Nepotism, Lab Experiment, Corruption, Group Identity, Discrimination, Trust, Reciprocity

JEL Classification: C92, D73, M51

Suggested Citation

Banuri, Sheheryar and Eckel, Catherine C. and Wilson, Rick K., Deconstructing Nepotism (November 26, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2248187 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2248187

Sheheryar Banuri

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

Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom
+441603591246 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.uea.ac.uk/economics/people/profile/s-banuri

University of East Anglia (UEA) - Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) ( email )

United Kingdom
+441603591246 (Phone)

Catherine C. Eckel (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University ( email )

5201 University Blvd.
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

Rick K. Wilson

Rice University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

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