Costly Solidarity Behavior and the Identity of Others: The Novel Identity-Solidarity Game in a Large Panel Survey of the German Resident population
23 Pages Posted:
Date Written: February 6, 2024
What impact does identity of others have on solidarity behavior? The current knowledge base relating to willingness to give to others in the welfare state is almost entirely restricted to standardized survey research and lacks behavioral measures. We use the new Identity-Solidarity Game in the second wave of a broad and representative online survey of German residents to test pre-registered hypotheses. The Solidarity Game is a miniature model of the welfare system in which individuals can divide funds with two other participants in groups of three, all of whom can turn out to be lucky or unlucky. Participants are presented with true participant information from wave 1, including age, income, descent, and party preference, and asked to make decisions in four separate scenarios. Each scenario involves receiving truthful information from other group members, anonymously, pertaining to one of the variables before deciding how the individual should split the sum available. One scenario was randomly picked for payout after the field had been closed. Our analysis yields: (1) solidarity behavior is different in the solidarity game with identity information compared to a purely anonymous game. (2) People show higher levels of solidarity when they are in a homogeneous group, with the strongest homogeneity effects in groups defined by party preference and descent. (3) In tendency but ambiguously, people give more to social groups with members that are constructed to be deserving (poorer people, but not older people) and less to the undeserving (those born abroad). (4) People react most negatively to the presence of members of socially disliked groups (AfD voters). The paper discusses the implications of the findings in terms of methods, empirical patterns and theory.
Keywords: Solidarity Behavior, Solidarity Game, Welfare State, Identity, Behavioral Measures
JEL Classification: C92
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation