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Deconstructing Bias in Social Preferences Reveals Groupy and Not Groupy Behavior

Resource Type
Dataset : experimental data, survey data
  • Kranton, Rachel (Duke University)
  • Pease, Matthew (UPMC)
  • Sanders, Seth (Cornell University)
  • Heutell, Scott (Duke University)
Publication Date
Free Keywords
  • Abstract

    Group divisions are a continual feature of human history, with biases toward people’s own groups shown in both experimental and natural settings. Using a novel within-subject design, this work deconstructs group biases to find significant and robust individual differences; some individuals consistently respond to group divisions, while others do not. We examined individual behavior in two treatments in which subjects make pairwise decisions that determine own and others’ income. In a political treatment, which divided subjects into groups based on their political leanings, political party members showed more ingroup bias than Independents who professed the same political opinions. But this greater bias was also present in a minimal group treatment, showing that stronger group identification was not the driver of higher favoritism in the political setting. Analyzing individual choices across the experiment, we categorize participants as “groupy” or “not groupy,” such that groupy participants have social preferences that change for ingroup and outgroup recipients, while not-groupy participants’ preferences do not change across group context. Demonstrating further that the group identity of the recipient mattered less to their choices, strongly not-groupy subjects made allocation decisions faster. We conclude that observed ingroup biases build on a foundation of heterogeneity in individual groupiness.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2010-01-01 / 2020-12-31
    Time Period: Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2010--Thu Dec 31 00:00:00 EST 2020
  • 2011-01-22 / 2011-03-04
    Collection Date(s): Sat Jan 22 00:00:00 EST 2011--Fri Mar 04 00:00:00 EST 2011
Geographic Coverage
  • Durham, NC
Sampled Universe
Students and Community Members at Duke University for Duke Sample
National MTurks Sample.
Collection Mode
  • computer-assisted self interview (CASI); self-enumerated questionnaire; web-based survey;

This study is freely available to the general public via web download.
  • Is version of
    DOI: 10.3886/E120555

Update Metadata: 2020-08-06 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2020-08-06

Kranton, Rachel; Pease, Matthew; Sanders, Seth; Heutell, Scott (2020): Deconstructing Bias in Social Preferences Reveals Groupy and Not Groupy Behavior. Version: 1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.