Review of Behavioral Economics > Vol 11 > Issue 2

Inequality as a Behavioral Driver: An Inspiring Contribution to Behavioral Political Economy by Shaun Hargreaves-Heap

Enrique Fatas, Universidad Europea de Valencia, Spain, , Lina M. Restrepo-Plaza, Universidad Europea de Valencia, Spain,
Suggested Citation
Enrique Fatas and Lina M. Restrepo-Plaza (2024), "Inequality as a Behavioral Driver: An Inspiring Contribution to Behavioral Political Economy by Shaun Hargreaves-Heap", Review of Behavioral Economics: Vol. 11: No. 2, pp 235-254.

Publication Date: 08 May 2024
© 2024 E. Fatas and L. M. Restrepo-Plaza
Behavioral economics,  Experimental economics,  Civil conflict,  Political economy
JEL Codes: D910, D710, D740
Behavioral political economycoordination gamesconflictinequalityexperiments


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In this article:
An Experiment on Identity-based Conventions 
The Legacy of HVV (I): Fairness Perceptions and Intergroup Punishment 
The Legacy of HVV (II): Cooperative Behavior of Disadvantaged Players in the Field 


In this paper, we revisit a seminal contribution of Shaun Hargreaves-Heap to the development of Behavioral Political Economy. In 2002, together with his coauthor Yanis Varoufakis, he studied how arbitrary conventions associated with a randomly assigned identity shape the behavior of participants in experimental coordination games. The divide between advantaged and disadvantaged players has different consequences for the actions and payoffs of both types of player. Advantaged players adhere to the arbitrary convention when matched with other advantaged individuals (at a large personal cost). Disadvantaged subjects deviate from the convention when matched with other disadvantaged individuals (at a significant and mutual gain). We connect this inspiring contribution with our own work, exploring the long shadow of exposure to advantages and disadvantages in a different laboratory study, and the cooperative behavior of disadvantaged individuals in the field.



Review of Behavioral Economics, Volume 11, Issue 2 Special Issue: The Contribution of Behavioral Insights to Political Economy: Articles Overiew
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.