In-Group Bias in Prison

42 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2018 Last revised: 2 Jan 2020

See all articles by Shiqi Guo

Shiqi Guo

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) - Department of Economics, Students

Pinghan Liang

Sun Yat-Sen University (SYSU) - School of Government

Erte Xiao

Monash University

Date Written: December 15, 2019

Abstract

We conducted a field experiment in a typical Chinese prison to examine the in-group bias of groups with a stigmatized identity. Inmates were given the opportunity to work for a charity. We found evidence of both pro-sociality and in-group favoritism among inmates. In particular, inmates increased effort when their output contributed to a charity, and worked even harder when the beneficiary of their efforts had a prisoner identity. However, inmates who had been in prison for a longer period exerted relatively less effort to help a prisoner beneficiary. This negative correlation was not observed when the beneficiary was an outsider. These findings highlight the importance of social interaction in the formation of in-group bias.

Keywords: In-group bias, Group identity, Social interaction, Pro-social preference, Field experiment

JEL Classification: C93, D64, D91, K14

Suggested Citation

Guo, Shiqi and Liang, Pinghan and Xiao, Erte, In-Group Bias in Prison (December 15, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3294457 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3294457

Shiqi Guo

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) - Department of Economics, Students ( email )

Geneva
Switzerland

Pinghan Liang

Sun Yat-Sen University (SYSU) - School of Government ( email )

China

Erte Xiao (Contact Author)

Monash University ( email )

23 Innovation Walk
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

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