International Review of Economics

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 91–103 | Cite as

You are not in my boat: common fate and discrimination against outgroup members

  • Daniel John ZizzoEmail author


Sharing a common fate with some people but not others may affect how economic agents behave in economic transactions, quite independently of strategic incentives. We present an experimental test of the effect of perceptions of common fate on the inducement of economic discrimination in bilateral settings. In settings where the bargaining power was all with one subject (the dictator game and a ‘unilateral power game’), about half of the subjects engaged in negative discrimination: insiders were not treated better relative to control sessions, but outsiders were treated worse. Discrimination may be induced by a more conflictual perception of the decision problem.


Discrimination Bargaining Dictator game 

JEL Classification

C72 C91 



I wish to thank Abigail Barr, Daylain Cain, participants to the Teamwork conference held in Oxford in April 2003, the Economic Science Association meeting held in Pittsburgh in June 2003, the Oxford Experimental Economics Workshop, the Oxford Applied and Social Psychology Seminar, and seminars held in Bonn, Kent at Canterbury, Liverpool and Queen Mary (London) for advice and encouragement, and especially Margaret Foddy for drawing my attention to Stephen Crane’s text. Thanks are also due to Jonathan Tan and Jocelyn Payne for programming help and Jonathan Tan, Hao Wu, Serign Cham, Karen Croxson and Chinnawut Techanuvat for experimental assistance. Financial support under the ESRC Grant R/000/22/3852 is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economics and CBESSUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUnited Kingdom

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