Ideological Motivation and Group Decision-Making

75 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2020 Last revised: 1 Apr 2022

See all articles by Florian Engl

Florian Engl

University of Regensburg - Department of Economics and Econometrics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 1, 2022

Abstract

Ideological considerations are becoming increasingly relevant in many economic, managerial, and political decisions. In this paper, we study experimentally when and how ideological motives shape group decision-making. Groups repeatedly decide between a monetarily beneficial outcome that generates a high payoff but also an ideologically undesirable externality, or an ideologically beneficial outcome that generates a low payoff and no externality. Groups that disagree forgo all payoffs. An independent part of the experiment serves to classify subjects as ideologically or payoff motivated individuals. We find that ideologically motivated group members are, after disagreement, significantly less likely to give in than payoff motivated subjects. As a consequence, groups which disagree initially are later more likely to agree on the ideologically beneficial outcome. Thus, we document how ideologicallymotivated people can steer groups towards ideological commitments held by only a minority of group members. Furthermore, our treatments show that increasing the group size has no impact on the decisions of ideologically motivated group members, but significantly increases the rate with which payoff motivated group members agree on the ideologically beneficial outcome. These results are theoretically predicted by fixed but not by malleable ideological preferences. Additional treatments show that social image concerns, peer pressure or reputation effects are unlikely to explain the group size effect, and that individual ideological commitment and its influence on group outcomes is much weaker when the externality is ideologically desirable.

Keywords: ideology, group decision-making, coordination, heterogeneous types

JEL Classification: C92, D01, D70, D91

Suggested Citation

Engl, Florian, Ideological Motivation and Group Decision-Making (February 1, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3738759 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3738759

Florian Engl (Contact Author)

University of Regensburg - Department of Economics and Econometrics ( email )

Universitaetsstrasse 31
D-93040 Regensburg
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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