Hate Trumps Love: The Impact of Political Polarization on Social Preferences

About this Session


Thu. 07.04. 12:45



Speaker: Eugen Dimant

Exhibiting altruism towards and cooperativeness with others is a key ingredient for successful work relationships and managerial decision-making. Rising political polarization creates a hazard because it ruptures this fabric and impedes the interaction of employees, especially across political isles. This paper’s focus is to examine various behavioral-, belief-, and norm-based layers of (non-) strategic decision-making that are plausibly affected by polarization. I quantify this phenomenon via 5 pre-registered studies in the context of Donald J. Trump, comprising 15 well-powered behavioral experiments and a diverse set of over 8,600 participants. To capture the pervasiveness of polarization, I contrast the findings with various political and non-political identities. Overall, I consistently document strong heterogeneous effects: ingroup-love occurs in the perceptional domain (how close one feels towards others), whereas outgroup-hate occurs in the behavioral domain (how one helps/harms/cooperates with others). I also examine the mechanisms of observed intergroup conflict, which can be attributed to one’s grim expectations regarding cooperativeness of the opposing faction, rather than one’s actual unwillingness to cooperate. I also test whether popular behavioral interventions (defaults and norm-nudges) can reduce the detrimental impact of polarization in the contexts studied here. The tested interventions improve pro-sociality but are ineffective in closing the polarization gap.