The relationship between income inequality, group identification and cooperation in social dilemmas
Heuvel, K.Y.T. van den
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The present study examines the relationship between income inequality and group identification as well as the relationship between group identification and cooperation in social dilemmas. After looking at Social Identity Theory and Social Categorization Theory, as well as relative deprivation and the homophily principle, two hypotheses were formed. The first hypothesis predicts that people with a higher group identification cooperate more with their group in social dilemmas. The second hypothesis expects a more unequal income distribution in a group to be related to less group identification. Data of an experimental setting was used (N = 192). The experiment existed of a version of the public goods game in which individuals were sorted into groups of three. Results of the study indicated that individuals who felt more closely related to their group were more inclined to cooperate in social dilemmas, furthermore, a negative relation between income inequality and group identification was found. These findings can be used in policy that focusses on getting individuals to cooperate, in situations such as the climate crisis or a global pandemic. After the results, suggestions for future research on this topic are proposed.