Daniel Carvajal, NHH Bergen

"Social context, identity and prosocial behavior"


As society becomes increasingly diverse, a key question arises: does a change in our social context — defined by the individuals we are exposed to — influence our interactions with each other? This paper studies this question using an experiment in a large-scale U.S. sample. Participants make an incentivized allocation towards either a fellow U.S. national or a foreigner, while exogenously exposed to one out of two social contexts with varying levels of diversity in nationalities. I find that facing a diverse context amplifies ingroup bias, driven by both increased allocations towards U.S. nationals and decreased allocations to foreigners relative to allocations in a homogeneous context. Evidence suggests that changes in perceptions of social proximity are a mechanism behind the effects of context on allocations. Finally, exposure to a diverse context influence political views, in a direction consistent with an increased ingroup favoritism towards U.S. nationals.

Contact person: Robert Mahlstedt