Identity and Institutions as Foundations of Ingroup Favoritism: An Investigation Across 17 Countries

Giuliana Spadaro, James H. Liu, Robert Jiqi Zhang, Homero Gil de Zúñiga, Daniel Balliet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ingroup favoritism can represent a challenge for establishing cooperation beyond group boundaries. In a behavioral experiment conducted across 17 societies (N = 3,236), we tested pre-registered hypotheses forwarded by social identity and material security frameworks to account for ingroup favoritism in trust toward national ingroups. We related individual-level measures of national identification and perception of institutions to trust, trustworthiness, and behavioral expectations of partner’s trustworthiness toward a national ingroup, outgroup, or unidentified stranger in a trust game. Our findings support a social identity framework, as national identification was positively associated with greater ingroup favoritism. However, in contrast to predictions from a material security framework, perceptions of national institutions as trustworthy and benevolent were positively associated with greater ingroup favoritism. These findings suggest some potential challenges that support for national institutions might pose to the establishment of trust beyond group borders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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