Social Groups with Selfish Individuals

48 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2019 Last revised: 8 May 2020

Date Written: May 05, 2020


I test the effect of multiple pivotal players on unfair choices in a setup with a leader and two followers deciding on whether to expropriate the payoff of a group member. Comparing unanimity decisions to individual decisions within the group, I find that leaders are fairer in the unanimity rule compared to individual decision-making. Followers are more unfair than leaders. These findings refute multiple pivotality as a source of unfair group decisions, and are in line with image and harm responsibility concerns. Control treatments suggest that a minority might prefer not to collectively redistribute the wealth away from a victim.

Keywords: groups, fairness, social preferences, unanimity

JEL Classification: D90, D30, D70, C92

Suggested Citation

Doğan, Gönül, Social Groups with Selfish Individuals (May 05, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Gönül Doğan (Contact Author)

University of Cologne ( email )

Cologne, 50923

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