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Saving Face and Group Identity

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Document pages: 44 pages

Abstract: Are people willing to sacrifice resources to save one’s and others’ face? In a laboratory experiment, we study whether individuals forego resources to avoid the public exposure of the least performer in their group. We show that a majority of individuals are willing to pay to preserve not only their self - but also other group members’ image, even when group identity is minimal. When group identity is made more salient, individuals help regardless of whether the least performer is an in-group or an out-group. In contrast, people are less likely to sacrifice for individual strangers, showing a major role for group identity and reputation concerns within groups relative to an interpretation in terms of moral norms.

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