In-group favouritism and out-group discrimination in naturally occurring groups

Klaus Abbink, Donna Harris

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31 Citations (Scopus)


We study in-group favouritism and out-group discrimination in a multiplayer dictator game in a naturally occuring group setting. An allocator divides a large sum of money among three groups of around 20 recipients each and also to themselves. The groups are supporters of two rival political movements in Thailand and politically neutral subjects. The non-rival outgroup acts as a reference point and allows us to measure in-group favouritism and outgroup discrimination. A treatment with artificial groups serves as a control. We find both ingroup favouritism and out-group discrimination among the naturally occurring groups. In artificial groups, favouritism is observed, but not discrimination. Our results suggest that the two behaviours are not driven by the same motive, and only when groups are in conflict that out-group discrimination is likely to occur.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0221616
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019

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