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The role of deservingness in coalition formation
A key observation in coalition formation research is that bargainers who have most resources are often excluded from coalitions; an observation dubbed the Strength-is-Weakness effect. In the presented research, we investigated whether the Strength-is-Weakness effect would decrease when bargainers earned their amount of resources through effort rather than received through random distribution—a manipulation we though would increase the perception that those with more resources would be deserving of inclusion in a coalition.
We tested this hypothesis using a 5(4-3-2) simple weighted majority game in which participants either received 4, 3, or 2 resources by chance or earned them through a real-effort slider task. Although our manipulation seemed to elicit a heightened feeling that those with more resources deserved inclusion, and more first offers to those with more resources, it did not lead to more actual inclusion.