How to talk about an out-group: Effects on in-group trust and out-group generosity

39 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2021

See all articles by Jan Biermann

Jan Biermann

University of Hamburg

Hendrik Hüning

Hamburg University

Lydia Mechtenberg

University of Hamburg

Date Written: October 18, 2021

Abstract

This paper examines how deliberation in an in-group on how much to share with an out-group affects in-group trust and out-group generosity. In a lab-in-the-field experiment with 13 schools, we randomly assign school minors into pairs that decide how much of a common fund to transfer to refugee minors. Treatments vary whether pairs partake in a free-form chat or write down their reasoning individually. After treatment, they vote on transfers. In our sample, communication on refugees is shaped by a political-correctness norm: it is more refugee-friendly than individual reasoning, and it increases optimism within pairs about the partner's refugee-friendliness. Subjects trust their partners the more, the more refugee-friendly they believe them to be. This is rational in our sample since more refugee-friendly subjects turn out more trustworthy. Communication also has a positive impact on willingness to collectively share funds with refugee minors. Hence, our experiment indicates that in our sample, both the in-group and the out-group profit from a political-correctness norm to speak well of the out-group.

Keywords: Communication, trust, text data, collective decisions, donation, generosity

JEL Classification: C93, D70, D83

Suggested Citation

Biermann, Jan and Hüning, Hendrik and Mechtenberg, Lydia, How to talk about an out-group: Effects on in-group trust and out-group generosity (October 18, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3945496 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3945496

Jan Biermann

University of Hamburg ( email )

Allende-Platz 1
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

Hendrik Hüning (Contact Author)

Hamburg University ( email )

Von-Melle-Park 5
Hamburg, DE Hamburg 20146
Germany

Lydia Mechtenberg

University of Hamburg ( email )

Allende-Platz 1
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

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