The Effect of Financial Constraints on In-Group Bias: Evidence from Rice Farmers in Thailand

51 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2020

See all articles by Suparee Boonmanunt

Suparee Boonmanunt

Mahidol University

Stephan Meier

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Columbia Business School - Management


In-group bias can be detrimental for communities and economic development. We study the causal effect of financial constraints on in-group bias in prosocial behaviors – cooperation, norm enforcement, and sharing – among low-income rice farmers in rural Thailand, who cultivate and harvest rice once a year. We use a between-subjects design – randomly assigning participants to experiments either before harvest (more financially constrained) or after harvest. Farmers interacted with either in-group or out-group partners at village level. We find that in-group bias in cooperation and norm enforcement exist only after harvest, that is, when people are less financially constrained.

Keywords: cooperation, financial constraints, in-group bias, lab-in-the-field experiment, norm enforcement

JEL Classification: C93, D64, D91

Suggested Citation

Boonmanunt, Suparee and Meier, Stephan, The Effect of Financial Constraints on In-Group Bias: Evidence from Rice Farmers in Thailand. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12919, Available at SSRN:

Stephan Meier

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston ( email )

600 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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