Saving Face and Group Identity
44 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2015 Last revised: 19 May 2016
Date Written: May 18, 2016
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: Suggested Citation