In-group favoritism and out-group discrimination are ubiquitous phenomena, threatening social cohesion in diverse societies. Notwithstanding growing urgency, we lack a systematic understanding of the causes and consequences of in-group out-group biases, or to put it more broadly, of social cohesion. The ERC-funded project KIDSNGROUPS will open frontiers to advance our knowledge on social cohesion by focusing on the early life cycle, and thus the most formative years in people’s life. Its main objective is to break ground regarding the causal origins of in-group out-group preferences. For this purpose, it will study the role of the family (vertical socialization) and other socialization processes like imitation and learning (horizontal socialization) in shaping children’s in-group out-group preferences. Moreover, it will shed novel light on the economic relevance of social cohesion. To the extent that in-group favoritism and out-group discrimination prevent children from helping each other, they may hamper children’s welfare, and thus the future of diverse societies.
The project combines i) experimental methods to study in- and out-group phenomena, ii) administrative records to get access to large-scale, non-selected samples and hands on high quality measures of children’s human capital, and iii) state-of-the-art econometric techniques to infer causality. In so doing, KIDSNGROUPS will open up new avenues for any science interested in people’s behavior.
The IHS seminar will take place online as an MS-Teams event. Interested parties can register by mail to event(at)ihs.ac.at and will receive a link to participate.
Christina Felfe de Ormeño is professor of Economics at the University of Würzburg and a fellow at IHS. She works on applied econometrics with a focus on labor, education and migration economics