Ideological Motivation and Group Decision-Making
75 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2020 Last revised: 1 Apr 2022
Date Written: February 1, 2022
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: Suggested Citation