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Which social categories matter to people: An experiment

Authors: Adnan, Wifag
Arin, K. Peren
Charness, Gary
Lacomba, Juan A.
Lagos, Francisco
Keywords: Social categories;Gender;Religion;Ethnicity;Discrimination;Donation;Investment
Issue Date: 3-Dec-2021
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Adnan, W., Arin, K. P., Charness, G., Lacomba, J. A., & Lagos, F. (2022). Which social categories matter to people: An experiment. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.
Abstract: Social categories matter to people, but it is not obvious ex ante which ones matter more. To explore this, we conduct a novel experimental market of anonymous partners based on social categories. Participants have the option of choosing or discarding a peer according to their gender, ethnicity, and religion. Our research design allows us to explore whether individuals prioritize social categories when selecting a peer and whether the order in which social categories are prioritized is context dependent. Considering both free and costly decisions, two economic contexts are evaluated: donations (dictator game) and investments (risk game). We find that when selecting a partner, gender appears to be the dominant social category across different conditions, with subjects exhibiting sharp preferences for being matched with a female partner. However, the partner's religion gains prominence as a requested social category when issues concerning social-group decision-making become relevant to one's own payoffs. Finally, we find that choosing social categories seems to have economic consequences both by increasing economic donations and increasing investments.
Rights: CC BY-NC-ND
Appears in Collections:Wifag Adnan’s Collection

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