This research was made possible by funding from the National Science Foundation (#0318389), the Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Fellowship Program, and a short-term travel grant from IREX. None of these agencies bears any responsibility for the claims made in this research. Monika Nalepa provided useful comments on several versions of this paper. Emina Osmanagic provided invaluable support in the field. Finally, our anonymous reviewers and the editor were very helpful in focusing this article.
The Dictator Game, Fairness and Ethnicity in Postwar Bosnia
Article first published online: 19 JUN 2007
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 51, Issue 3, pages 655–668, July 2007
How to Cite
Whitt, S. and Wilson, R. K. (2007), The Dictator Game, Fairness and Ethnicity in Postwar Bosnia. American Journal of Political Science, 51: 655–668. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2007.00273.x
- Issue published online: 19 JUN 2007
- Article first published online: 19 JUN 2007
This study considers the effects of ethnic violence on norms of fairness. Once violence is a foregone conclusion, will cooperative norms ever (re-)emerge beyond ethnic boundaries? We use an experiment that measures how fairly individuals in a postconflict setting treat their own ingroup in comparison to the outgroups—in this case, examining the behavior of 681 Muslims, Croats, and Serbs in postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina. To assess fairness, we use the dictator game wherein subjects decide how to allocate a sum of money between themselves and an anonymous counterpart of varying ethnicity. We find that the effects of ethnicity on decision making are captured by our experiments. Although results indicate preferential ingroup treatment, the incidence and magnitude of outgroup bias is much less than expected. We conclude that norms of fairness across ethnicity are remarkably strong in Bosnia, and we take this to be a positive sign for reconciliation after violent conflict.