Migration Observatory Seminar – Christina Felfe (University of Wurzburg), 29th September 2021 at 12:00 – 13.15 (CET)

Christina Felfe (University of Wurzburg):”On the Early Origins of In-Group Bias“, jointly organised by Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano and Fondazione Collegio Carlo Alberto, 29th September 2021 from 12:00 to 13.15 (CET) at Fondazione Collegio Carlo Alberto, Turin.

We examine whether native childrens’ own-group favoring behavior changes as the
fraction of ethnic minorities in their peer group increases. Building on Brock and Durlauf (2001)
and Hotelling (1929), we develop a model which predicts an inverse-U shaped amount of in-group
out-group bias as a function of the size of a minority group. Empirically, we leverage the random
assignment of students to classrooms within a school to obtain variation in fraction of immigrants
in a native’s peer group. We combine this with a lab-in-the field experiment which elicits in-group
out-group bias using an investment trust game. Consistent with our theory, but in contrast to
unadorned contact theory, we find empirical evidence for an inverse-U shape, with the maximum
amount of bias occuring when the native and immigrant groups are of roughly equal size. We
corroborate this finding with a survey-based measure of in-group out-group trust.