"Determinants of In-group Bias: Is Group Affiliation Mediated by Guilt-aversion?"

Werner Güth, Matteo Ploner and Tobias Regner

In-group favoritism in social dilemma situations is one of Social Identity Theory’s main
findings. We investigate what causes the in-group bias: is it merely due to group affiliation
or, alternatively, is guilt-aversion moderating the strength of in-group favoring? We induce
group membership in a minimal group setting, observe in-/out-group transfers and elicit
corresponding beliefs. According to our experimental data group affiliation affects beliefs
and explains a substantial part of the bias. Evidence for guilt-aversion is found only when
beliefs are elicited before actions.

Determinants of In-group Bias: Is Group Affiliation Mediated by Guilt-aversion?