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Understanding Cooperation in a Populist Landscape
Keywords: cooperation, parochial cooperation, universal cooperation, populism
Abstract: We examine the impact of populism – increasing identification with an ethnic majority and declining support of government policies – on universal and parochial cooperation. 192 participants, from the ethnic majority in the UK, were assigned to a pro- or anti-Brexit group based on actual preference, and allocated ten tokens across four options in an intergroup cooperation game (Aaldering et al., 2018): to benefit both pro-and anti-Brexit groups (universal cooperation), to benefit their group but not harm the outgroup (weak parochial), to benefit their group and harm the outgroup (strong parochial), to benefit only themselves (selfish). We find cosmopolitanism and government support (positively) and ethnic majority identification (negatively) to predict universal cooperation, while cosmopolitanism (negatively) and ethnic majority identification (positively) predict strong parochial cooperation. Thus, more nationalistic people are not only unwilling to join forces with out-groups, but are even willing to harm them.