Cognitive Ability and In-Group Bias: An Experimental Study

45 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2016 Last revised: 4 May 2018

See all articles by Fabian Paetzel

Fabian Paetzel

University of the German Federal Armed Forces - Helmut Schmidt Universität; DFG Research Group 2104

Rupert Sausgruber

Vienna University of Economics and Business - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 27, 2018

Abstract

We study the role of performance differences in a task requiring cognitive effort on in-group bias. We show that the in-group bias is strong in groups consisting of high-performing members, and it is weak in low-performing groups. This holds although high-performing subjects exhibit no in-group bias as members of minimal groups, whereas low-performing subjects strongly do. We also observe instances of low-performing subjects punishing the in-group favoritism of low-performing peers. The same does not occur in high-performing or minimal groups where subjects generally accept that decisions are in-group biased.

Keywords: cognitive ability, group identity, entitlements, social preferences, minimal groups, punishment, social norms, social status

JEL Classification: C92, D31, D63

Suggested Citation

Paetzel, Fabian and Sausgruber, Rupert, Cognitive Ability and In-Group Bias: An Experimental Study (April 27, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2884203 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2884203

Fabian Paetzel (Contact Author)

University of the German Federal Armed Forces - Helmut Schmidt Universität ( email )

Holstenhofweg 85
Hamburg, 22008
Germany

DFG Research Group 2104 ( email )

Holstenhofweg 85
Hamburg, DE 22043
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://bedarfsgerechtigkeit.hsu-hh.de/en?set_language=en

Rupert Sausgruber

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

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, 1020
Austria
+43 1 31336 4572 (Phone)

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