The effects of status perceptions on immigration attitudes

This work focuses on studying the dynamics of inter-minority relations and attempts to uncover the influence of the minority-group’s status position in the host country on its members’ attitudes towards other minorities. I hypothesize that relative status deprivation, that is the negative difference in status between own ethnic/national group and that of the native majority, has a negative impact on group members’ attitudes toward an even lower ranked status group (such as refugees). In order to test these predictions, an online experiment (N=1000) is implemented, where participants with migration background residing in Germany receive either a positive or a negative evaluation of their own ethnic/national ingroup, as evaluated by a group of participants from the majority population, while fixing the evaluations of other immigrant groups. Thereafter, multiple attitudinal and one quasi-behavioral measure of position towards immigration of refugees are elicited. I test for the possible channels of the effect, including the change in perceived norm, indirect reciprocity, and preference for equality of treatment.

Productivity Shocks and Conflict: The Role of Loss Aversion; Working Paper (submitted)

This paper studies the consequences of productivity shocks on conflict behavior in the presence of loss aversion. In a first step, I incorporate expectation based loss preferences a la Kőszegi and Rabin (2006, 2007) into a Hirshleifer-Skaperdas conflict game and show that negative productivity shocks entail higher conflict investments if agents are loss averse (and lower investments if agents are gain-seeking); the reverse holds in case of a positive productivity shock. In a second step, a lab experiment (N=496) was conducted with participants playing repeated guns-and-butter conflict game under changing productivity regimes. The experimental results reveal that while adverse productivity shocks (channeled through loss aversion) have the predicted effects, positive productivity shocks lead to the predicted increase in conflict investment among gain-seeking but fail to reduce conflict investment among loss-averse participants. Furthermore, absent any changes in productivity level, conflict investments are shown to increase in the level of loss aversion.

The influence premium of monetary status, with Andrea F. M. Martinangeli; Working paper (submitted)

The transmission of adaptively valuable behaviours requires individuals who exhibit them to exert greater influence on others’ actions. The conferment of status to these individuals, status recognition, and the granting of status privileges are functional to achieving this objective. With the accumulation of material status sources, however, status imperfectly signals underlying ability. We investigate whether the holders of purely monetary status, known to be orthogonal to their underlying ability, nevertheless enjoy greater influence over others’ choices. Among a representative sample of the German population, high monetary status grants individuals greater influence over others’ actions. This finding does not emerge when status is known to be linked to cognitive ability.

Wins and losses in collective actions: Evidence from the field, with Raisa Sherif; AEA Registry

Global warming, deforestation, destruction of wildlife, etc. – all represent problems which require coordination on a global level to be successfully resolved. At the same time, they also have their representation on a smaller scale (e.g. on a local level). We study, using a field experiment, whether the experience of participation in a small-scale collective action affects the willingness to contribute in a related but larger collective action. Particularly, we are interested in the motivational and demotivational effects of having achieved a “small win” or having failed to do so, on scaling-up the collective effort, and the relative magnitude of these effects. Furthermore, we investigate whether success (failure) in the smaller scale collective action has heterogeneous effects on participants with different initial propensity to contribute.