The Effects of Group Identity on Interaction Preferences and Coordination Efficiency

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There exists extensive evidence documenting the economic consequences of discrimination patterns between individuals belonging to the same or different group identities. However, many group identities rely on convictions and beliefs that are non-observable, and therefore, might be uncertain. This paper investigates the effects of group identity, and its uncertainty, on individuals’ interaction preferences and their willingness to coordinate. Results from a laboratory experiment using a repeated weakest-link game with endogenous group formation, show that unknown-group individuals are more negatively discriminated than out-group individuals in the long term. Nevertheless, all discrimination patterns vanish when interactions entail high and mutual potential economic incentives. Our findings offer several managerial implications for deterring discrimination among individuals to interact, and increasing their coordination efficiency when working in teams.

Keywords: Group identity uncertainty, Interaction preferences, Coordination efficiency, Intergroup bias.

Adrià Bronchal is a PhD Candidate at ESADE, Universitat Ramon Llull, under the supervision of Prof. Pedro Rey-Biel. He obtained his MSc in Economics from Universidad de Granada, and his BA in Economics from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

His Thesis Dissertation combines different laboratory experiments to better understand the role group identity plays in individuals decision making, and its economic and social implications. In particular, his experiments adress the effects of group identity uncertainty over individuals’ willingness to interact and coordinate, the effects that a superordinate goal might have in a real ongoing intergroup conflict, and how peers’ behaviors can contribute to foster and detter affective polarization of individuals overlapping different social identities.