Nieuwe AIAS working papers over Solidariteit door Paul de Beer, Maarten Berg en Dorota Lepianka

Three new AIAS working papers have been published.

WP 127: More or less strangers. Social distance as reflected in news media reporting on the young, the old and the allochthon

By Dorota Lepianka

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Abstract

In an attempt to shed more light on the nature of solidaristic relations between various groups in Dutch society, the paper examines the media-conveyed images of the young, the old, the autochthon (i.e. native) and the allochthon (i.e. non-native) population. The investigation rests on the assumption that by voicing specific norms and values, and presenting a particular image of social life in a society, media contribute to the creation and maintenance of symbolic boundaries between groups, thus influencing the nature of inter-group relations. The results show minor dissimilarities in the media presentation of the old and the young, yet considerable differences in the presentation of the allochthon and autochthon characters. In comparison to allochton actors, autochthon characters are awarded a more prominent position in the news, enjoy a more heterogeneous presentation and a more positive overall evaluation. There are also considerable differences in the presentation of various sub-groups of non-ethnically Dutch characters, with Turks enjoying the most favourable descriptions and Moroccans most unfavourable ones. Of particular relevance to the study of inter-groups relations are differences in the media presentation of negative and positive characteristics of various groups. The findings indicate that evaluations of the groups under study differ not only in their quantity or intensity but also in their content and gist (e.g. hostility vs. incompetence in case of negative evaluations). The results are interpreted in the light of literature on social distance and social practices of “othering”.

WP 125: Solidarity in a multicultural neighbourhood. Results of a field experiment

By Paul de Beer and Maarten Berg

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Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of differences in sex, age, ethnicity and residency on the willingness of individuals to share money with others in a solidarity game. The solidarity game that was used in this study consists of groups of four players and has similarities with the well-known ‘dictator game’. The dictator role was either randomly assigned (random conditions) or earned by performing well on a quiz (performance conditions). In each group, two ‘dictators’ could distribute 20 credits (reflecting real money).
Contrary to most experimental games, this experiment was carried out both with university students in a laboratory at the University of Amsterdam and with ‘ordinary’ people who visited the Dapper market in a multicultural Amsterdam neighbourhood as subjects. This working paper reports on the latter case. Since the players were informed about the age, the sex, the cultural background and the number of years of residency in the Dapper area of their co-players, we can examine the effect of a difference between two players and of heterogeneity of the group. Thus we test the thesis of Robert Putnam (2007) that ethnic diversity of a group harms both out-group and in-group solidarity.
A difference in cultural background between two players appears to have a significantly negative impact on the gift they bestow each other. Natives discriminate against co-players with a Turkish, Moroccan or European background, but not against Surinamese co-players. Surinamese players and players with an ‘other’ cultural background also demonstrated a bias in favour of players of their own or each other’s group compared to natives, Turks, Moroccan and European players.
We also found an effect of the ethnic composition of groups on giving, but there is no straightforward relationship between ethnic diversity and the size of gifts. In general, gifts are largest in groups with either three natives or three non-natives, due to intra-ethnic favouritism within these groups. In case of an equal number of natives and non-natives within a group, however, there is little evidence for intra-ethnic favouritism or discrimination against the other ethnic group. Remarkably, we found a similar effect with respect to the diversity of residency within the group, i.e. the number of players who live in the Dapper neighbourhood.
Regarding age, both the age of the players and the age difference between the players matters. Up till the age of 50, the size of gifts rises with the age of the player, and gifts are the largest when the players differ about 18.5 years in age, irrespective of who is older and who is younger. Consequently, solidarity seems to be stimulated by a substantial but not too large age difference.
Finally, we also examine the relationship between media use and political party preferences on the one hand and gift giving on the other.

WP 124: Conditions and motives for voluntary sharing. Results of a solidarity game experiment

By Paul de Beer and Maarten Berg

Click here for the working paper

Abstract

This paper studies experimentally the conditions and motives for voluntary solidarity, following a game theoretical approach. The ‘solidarity game’ that is used in this study consists of groups of four players and is based on the solidarity game of Selten and Ockenfels (1998). In each group, two winners, which are either randomly selected or on the basis of their performance on a quiz, distribute 20 credits each (reflecting real money). We tested four hypotheses regarding the effect of various conditions on voluntary sharing, related to the motives for solidary behaviour, viz. self-interest, fairness, neediness and meritocracy. For most of our hypotheses the experiments provided support, although there are a few exceptions.
Players share more with others in the first round of the four shots game than in the one shot game, but their gifts decrease quickly as the game progresses, which confirms that they act largely out of self-interest. Players give more to a player from whom they have received money in the previous rounds (fairness, resulting in direct reciprocity). However, players do not give more to co-players who have been generous to others in the previous round, which would have been proof of indirect reciprocity. Players do not give more to a loser than to a winner in the current round, and, consequently, do not equalize the differences in revenue. However, they give more to players who have received relatively little in previous rounds, which suggests that neediness of the potential beneficiary is also a motive. Finally, winners give more in the random based conditions, when they do not really ‘deserve’ to be a winner, than in the performance based conditions, which offers support for the meritocracy hypothesis.
The motives that the subjects expressed themselves for their sharing behaviour in answering some post-hoc questions, mirrors their actual behaviour pretty well. Additionally, we also analyse the effect of some personal characteristics, and the party preferences and media use of the players.

On the series ‘Solidarity in the 21st Century’

The research programme ‘Solidarity in the 21st Century’ of the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies focuses on the effects of changes in the composition of the population due to immigration and ageing on the public support for social solidarity. It is often claimed that increasing diversity of the population erodes solidarity, because people do not recognize other people who differ in some important characteristics from themselves, as members of their own community. However, there are only few studies that have attempted to test directly the relationship between diversity and solidarity.
This research program aims to analyse the effects of the changing composition of populations on both informal and formal solidarity. It examines which motives, conditions and circumstances are beneficial or detrimental for sustaining solidarity within and between different groups in society. The apparent discrepancies between immigrants and natives on the one hand, and the elderly and the young on the other hand, may seriously affect the willingness of citizens to support or help fellow citizens who belong to a different ethnic group or age category. Members of various groups may find it difficult to relate to each other, and fears that one group will benefit unequally from the other may grow.
By combining different research methods – qualitative case studies, statistical analyses of large scale surveys, laboratory experiments, media content analysis – this research project investigates the different conditions and motives for solidarity. The focus of the research is on solidarity between immigrants and natives, and between the elderly and the young. Solidarity is defined broadly as any act that purposefully benefits another person at a cost for the agent, without any guarantee of an equivalent return. Some examples of solidarity are alms-giving to a beggar, helping your neighbour, voluntary community work, donating money to a charity organization, paying an insurance premium and paying taxes.
The research programme ‘Solidarity in the 21st Century’ includes statistical analyses of cross-country surveys, qualitative field studies in several neighbourhoods that differ in composition, laboratory experiments of a solidarity game and a content analysis of the representation of different groups (old, young, allochthones) in mass media. The (provisional) results of most of these studies will be published in the AIAS Working Paper series.
The research programme is made possible by a grant from Stichting Instituut Gak.
For further information on the research programme ‘Solidarity in the 21st Century’ see the programme’s website www.solidariteit.info.

 
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