Homo Oeconomicus

, Volume 34, Issue 2–3, pp 117–135 | Cite as

Intergroup Revenge: A Laboratory Experiment

Research Paper

Abstract

Several everyday examples imply that humans reciprocate not only towards direct perpetrators, but also to entire groups, thereby potentially affecting innocent bystanders. We test the hypothesis that people are predisposed to reciprocate against groups. In a laboratory experiment, subjects who were helped or harmed by another player’s action reacted by helping or harming another member of that player’s group. This group reciprocity was only observed when one group was seen as unfairly advantaged. Thus, activation of group reciprocity may be a causal mechanism that links perceived injustice to intergroup conflict. We discuss the relevance of group reciprocity to political and economic phenomena including violence, discrimination and team competition.

Keywords

Experiment Intergroup revenge Fairness Group identity 

JEL Classification

D03 D74 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of East AngliaNorwichUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Center of Conflict ResolutionHamburgGermany

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