Saving Face and Group Identity

44 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2015 Last revised: 19 May 2016

See all articles by Tor Eriksson

Tor Eriksson

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business Economics

Lei Mao

Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE)

Marie Claire Villeval

Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), CNRS; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Global Labor Organization (GLO)

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Date Written: May 18, 2016

Abstract

Are people willing to sacrifice resources to save one’s and others’ face? In a laboratory experiment, we study whether individuals forego resources to avoid the public exposure of the least performer in their group. We show that a majority of individuals are willing to pay to preserve not only their self - but also other group members’ image, even when group identity is minimal. When group identity is made more salient, individuals help regardless of whether the least performer is an in-group or an out-group. In contrast, people are less likely to sacrifice for individual strangers, showing a major role for group identity and reputation concerns within groups relative to an interpretation in terms of moral norms.

Keywords: Saving face, social image, pro-social behavior, group identity, experiment

JEL Classification: C92, D03, M52, Z13

Suggested Citation

Eriksson, Tor and Mao, Lei and Villeval, Marie Claire, Saving Face and Group Identity (May 18, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2613976 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2613976

Tor Eriksson

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business Economics ( email )

Fuglesangs Allé 4
Aarhus, 8210
Denmark
45 87164978 (Phone)

Lei Mao

Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE) ( email )

39 South College Road
Haidian District
Beijing, Beijing 100081
China

Marie Claire Villeval (Contact Author)

Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), CNRS ( email )

93, chemin des Mouilles
Ecully, 69130
France
+33 472 86 60 79 (Phone)
+33 472 86 60 90 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.gate.cnrs.fr/equipe/perso/villeval/villeval.html

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Global Labor Organization (GLO) ( email )

Collogne
Germany

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