Does parochial cooperation exist in childhood and adolescence? A meta‐analysis

Aleksandra Lazić, Danka Purić, Ksenija Krstić
Published Online:
02 Jul 2021

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Although previous meta‐analytic evidence supports the existence of parochialism in cooperation among adults, the extent to which children and adolescents are more willing to incur a personal cost to benefit ingroups, compared to outgroups, is not yet clear. We provide the first meta‐analysis on the existence and magnitude of parochialism in cooperation among pre‐adults. Based on 20 experimental economics studies (k = 69, N = 5268, age = 3–19, 12 countries, published 2008–2019), a multilevel meta‐analytic model revealed a small overall effect size indicating that children and adolescents were more cooperative towards ingroups (d = 0.22, 95% CI [0.07, 0.38]). A series of single‐moderator analyses tested for the following conditions: participant age and sex; game type ([mini‐]dictator game, prisoner's dilemma, public goods dilemma, trust game, ultimatum game); outcome interdependence; membership manipulation (between‐ vs. within‐subjects); group type (natural vs. experimental); reward type (monetary vs. non‐monetary); and country of the participant. Parochial cooperation did not vary with participants' age. Parochialism was larger in non‐interdependent (dictator‐type) compared to interdependent (bargaining and social dilemma) games. There were no moderating effects of group type, membership manipulation or reward type. To provide more data on how parochialism develops, primary studies should report age ranges more precisely and use more restricted age groups.

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