School of Economics and Finance

No. 886: Competition and the role of group identity

Francesca Cornaglia , Queen Mary University of London
Michalis Drouvelis , Department of Economics, University of Birmingham
Paolo Masella , Department of Economics, University of Bologna

May 7, 2019

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Abstract

The emergence of competition is a defining aspect of human nature and characterizes many important social environments. However, its relationship with how social groups are formed has received little attention. We design an experiment to analyze how individuals’ willingness to compete is affected by group identity. We find that individuals display substantially stronger competitiveness in within group (ingroup) matchings than in between group (outgroup) matchings or in a control setting where no group identity is induced. We also find that the effect of group identity is stronger for subjects who participated more actively in the team-building task.

J.E.L classification codes: C92, D03

Keywords:competition; social distance; group identity; laboratory experiment