Negative reciprocity and its relation to anger-like emotions in identity-homogeneous and heterogeneous groups

Bicskei, Marianna; Lankau, Matthias GND; Bizer, Kilian

Several studies have shown that social identity fosters the provision of public goods and enhances the willingness to reciprocate the cooperative behavior of group members. Nonetheless, the question of how social identity affects negative reciprocity in identity-homogeneous and -heterogeneous groups has only received little attention. Consequently, we seek to fill this gap by examining whether social identity affects individuals’ willingness to sanction deviating group members in a public good context. Moreover, we devote particular attention to the role of anger-like emotions in negative reciprocity. To test our hypotheses, we employ one-shot public good games in a strategy method with punishment opportunity and induced social identity. Our results indicate that members of identity-homogeneous groups are prone to reveal less negative reciprocity than identity-heterogeneous groups when they face contributions smaller than their own. We also find that anger-like emotions much more strongly influence punishment behavior when individuals are matched with members of different identities than in identity homogenous groups. These findings contribute to an increased understanding of the nature of social identity and its impact on reciprocity, improving economists’ ability to predict behavior while taking emotions into consideration.

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Bicskei, Marianna / Lankau, Matthias / Bizer, Kilian: Negative reciprocity and its relation to anger-like emotions in identity-homogeneous and heterogeneous groups. 2016.

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