Which Hat to Wear? Impact of Natural Identities on Coordination and Cooperation


As the workforce becomes increasingly diverse, motivating individuals from different backgrounds to work together effectively is a major challenge facing organizations. In an experiment conducted at a large public university in the United States, we manipulate the salience of participants’ multidimensional natural identities and investigate the effects of identity on coordination and cooperation in a series of minimum-effort and prisoner’s dilemma games. By priming a fragmenting (ethnic) identity, we find that, compared to the control, participants are significantly less likely to choose high effort in the minimum-effort games, leading to less efficient coordination. In comparison, priming a common organization (school) identity significantly increases the choice of a rational joint payoff maximizing strategy in a prisoner’s dilemma game.

Students from the two ethnic groups, Caucasians and Asians, at University of Michigan participated in the lab experiments.

DOI https://doi.org/10.3886/E120862V1
Metadata Access https://www.da-ra.de/oaip/oai?verb=GetRecord&metadataPrefix=oai_dc&identifier=oai:oai.da-ra.de:765152
Creator Chen, Yan; Li, Sherry Xin; Liu, Tracy Xiao; Shih, Margaret
Publisher ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research
Contributor National Science Foundation
Publication Year 2020
Rights Download; This study is freely available to the general public via web download.
OpenAccess true
Contact ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research
Resource Type Dataset; experimental data
Discipline Social Sciences