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Discrimination based on age can affect same-aged and intergenerational interactions, presenting socially and economically undesirable phenomena. To investigate the effects of age stereotypes on cooperation, we presented older adults (over age 50) and younger adults (under age 25) with belief elicitation tasks (about anticipated interactions) and then a series of same, different, and unknown-aged group interactions in a Sender-Receiver game. Compared to the in-group (the age group they belong to) both younger and older participants stereotyped the out-group (the age group they did not belong to) as relatively different and more uncooperative than observed to be. We have only partial support for the notion that stereotypers behaved strategically: while younger stereotypers acted relatively uncooperatively and earned more, older stereotypers acted relatively cooperatively (despite out-group beliefs) and earned less. We discuss the implications of these findings for social identity theory, stereotype theory, and intergenerational interactions in an aging society.


Working Paper 12-26



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