We study how salient group identity, created through competition between students from different universities, as well as differences in the value of winning impact competitive behavior. Our experiment employs a simple all-pay auction within and between two university subject pools. We find that when competing against their peers, students within the lower tier university bid more aggressively than students within the top-tier university. Also, students from the lower tier university, in particular women, bid more aggressively when competing against students from the top-tier university. These findings, interpreted through a theoretical model incorporating both group identity and differential value of winning, suggest that students at the lower tier university have a stronger group identity as well as higher desire to win.
Chen, Z., Ong, D., & Sheremeta, R. (2015). Competition between and within universities: Theoretical and experimental investigation of group identity and the desire to win. ESI Working Paper 15-16. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.chapman.edu/esi_working_papers/165