Experimental Economics Semiar - Changxia Ke (QUT)
Title: Do groups fight more? Experimental evidence on conflict initiation.
Authors: Changxia Ke (QUT), Florian Morath (U. Innsbruck), Sophia Seelos (U. Innsbruck)
Abstract: This paper investigates whether distributional conflict becomes more likely when groups are involved. We present results from a laboratory experiment in which two parties can appropriate resources via a contest or, alternatively, take an outside option. Keeping monetary incentives for fighting constant across all treatments, the experiment compares conflict choices of players in two-against-two, one-against-one, and two-against-one settings. Overall, we find evidence for a higher propensity to opt for conflict when being part of a group. The effects are strongest with endogenous group composition and in the presence of group size advantages. The results can be explained by a stronger non-monetary utility from fighting in (endogenous) groups and coincide with a biased perception of winning probability in asymmetric contests.