Nastiness in Groups
81 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2018 Last revised: 23 Jul 2021
Date Written: November 13, 2018
This paper provides evidence showing that people are more prone to engage in nasty behavior, malevolently causing financial harm to other people at own costs, when they make decisions on behalf of a group rather than when making choices individually on their own. We establish this behavioral regularity in four large-scale experiments among adolescents, university students and a nationally representative sample of adults (N = 7,426). We test several potential mechanisms, and the results suggest that the “destructiveness shift” in groups is driven by lower perception of individual responsibility, in line with self-signaling models.
Keywords: antisocial behavior, aggressive competitiveness, group membership, group decision-making, group conflict
JEL Classification: C92, C93, D01, D64, D74, D91
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation