A Study Shows That Electoral Outcomes Affect the Way We Treat Other People
MANAGEMENT |

A Study Shows That Electoral Outcomes Affect the Way We Treat Other People

AFTER THE 2016 US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, THE WILLINGNESS OF DEMOCRATS TO SHARE RESOURCES WITH REPUBLICANS DROPPED ABRUPTLY, AS A CONSEQUENCE OF A DROP IN SELFESTEEM, ACCORDING TO BOCCONI UNIVERSITY'S CELIA MOORE AND COLLEAGUES

After the unexpected results of the 2016 US Presidential Election, the way Americans treat each other changed as a function of their party affiliation, a new study by Celia Moore (Department of Management and Technology) and colleagues, published in PLOS ONE, documents.
 
In a two-stage experimental study, they explored how Democrats and Republicans allocated resources to their political friends and foes before and after the election. A first group of 280 adult Americans made allocation decisions to groups with varied political affiliations before the final primaries and national conventions of both parties (May 3-8, 2016), when Hillary Clinton seemed poised to become President, and a second group of the same size and characteristics made the same set of decisions in the week after the election and its surprising outcome.
 
As party affiliation is a salient part of our social identity, especially around elections, authors expected that the results were experienced as an ego shock both by Democrats (negatively) and Republicans (positively). In particular, Democrats experienced the results as a threat, which undermines self-esteem and boosts in-group favoritism and out-group hostility.
 
In the pre-election stage of the experiment, people were asked their political affiliation and, then had to share a small sum of money with a group of three components, whose political affiliation was known. The groups could be composed of three political friends, two friends and an opponent, or two opponents and a friend. While Democrats would allocate around half the money to the rest of the group, irrespectively of their political affiliation, Republicans would yield significantly less money (around 36 cents on a dollar) to groups with one or two Democrats than to Republicans-only groups (58 cents).
 
After the election, participants were asked not only their party affiliation, but also a series of questions that measured their emotional reaction to the electoral outcome, their self-esteem and the strength of identification to their political party. Democrats were higher than Republicans in hatred, hostility, anger, fear, paranoia and suspicion and lower in self-esteem, and showed a behavior more similar to Republicans’ before the election, allocating 56 cents on a dollar to homogeneous groups and only 38 cents to groups with two Republicans. Republicans’ in-group favoritism and out-group hostility, on the other side, markedly softened (47 cents to Republicans-only groups and 41 cents to groups with two Democrats).
 
Statistical analysis confirmed that the effect was mediated by the fall (for Democrats) or rise (for Republicans) in self-esteem and that it was stronger in individuals with a stronger party identification.
 
“As subsequent surveys confirm that America remains deeply divided months after the election, the effects we have measured might be longer lasting than anyone might have expected”, Prof. Moore said.
 
Burak Oc, Celia Moore, Michael R. Bashshur, When the tables are turned: The effects of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election on in-group favoritism and out-group hostility, in PLOS ONE, May 24, 2018.

by Fabio Todesco

News

All News
  • ScienzaNuova, the Dialogue between Philosophy and Physics Continues

    In the last week of July, the second edition of the research and experimentation forum on the fundamental concepts of modern science will be held in Merano, in collaboration with the Accademia di Studi Italo Tedeschi and with funding from the Cariplo Foundation and Bolzano's Sparkasse  

  • Eleanor Spaventa at a European Parliament's AFCO Committee Public Hearing

    She addressed the topic of the right balance between different rights in European Court of Justice's decisions  

Seminars

  September 2018  
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Seminars      

All Seminars
  • Refugee Resettlement
    Economic Theory, Decision Theory and Experimental Economics

    Alex Teytelboym (University of Oxford)

    Meeting room 3.e4.sr03 ' Via Roentgen, 1

  • La Judicial Review degli Atti di Vigilanza della BCE. Profili teorici e difficolta' pratiche
    Public Law

    Welcome address Luigi Testa, Università Bocconi Guest Speaker Concetta Brescia Morra, Università degli Studi Roma Tre e Administrative Board of Review, European Central Bank Discussants Filippo Annunziata, Università Bocconi e Edmondo Mostacci, Università Bocconi

    Room 1.C3-01, Via Roentgen 1