Saving Face and Group Identity

39 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2015

See all articles by Tor Eriksson

Tor Eriksson

Aarhus University - Department of Economics

Lei Mao

University of Angers - Institute of Economic Theory and Analysis (GATE)

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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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. This behavior is frequent even in the absence of group identity. When group identity is more salient, individuals help regardless of whether the least performer is an in-group or an out-group. This suggests that saving others' face is a strong social norm.

Keywords: pro-social behavior, social image, saving face, 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. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9110, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2655059

Tor Eriksson (Contact Author)

Aarhus University - Department of Economics ( email )

Fuglesangs Allé 4
Aarhus, 8210
Denmark
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Lei Mao

University of Angers - Institute of Economic Theory and Analysis (GATE) ( email )

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Monnaie et Finance at Lyon
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France

Marie Claire Villeval

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

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Ecully, 69130
France
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+33 472 86 60 90 (Fax)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Global Labor Organization (GLO) ( email )

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