Research

Queen Bee Immigrant: The effects of status perceptions on immigration attitudes; Working Paper

This work studies 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. In order to test these predictions, an online experiment (N=1.159) is implemented, where participants with migration background residing in Germany randomly receive either a positive or a negative evaluation of their own ethnic/national ingroup, as evaluated by a group of participants from the native majority population, while fixing the evaluations of other immigrant groups. The results show that participants whose in-group received a negative evaluation are systematically less willing to donate to an organization supporting refugees and express more negative views of the refugees from the Middle East. Furthermore, receiving negative evaluation impacts participants’ perceived descriptive norms regarding the expression of non-acceptance of refugees (and other low-status out-groups) among the majority population, indicating that the treatment effect on behavior is moderated by its effect on perceived norms. Additionally, I study the role of indirect reciprocity as a possible moderator of observed treatment effects.


The influence premium of monetary rank, with Andrea F. M. Martinangeli; Working paper (under revision)

The transmission of adaptively valuable behaviours requires successful individuals to exert greater influence on others’ actions. Hierarchical social organisations ease the recognition of successful, higher-ranked individuals in a group and hence facilitate this process. We investigate whether purely monetary rank, defined exclusively in terms of the amount of resources held by an individual, is capable, in isolation of any other intervening mechanism, to grant greater influence over others’ choices. Among a representative sample of the German population, we find that high monetary rank grants individuals greater influence over others’ actions.


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

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.


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.