Ingratiation: experimental evidence
2014
European Economic Review
66: 16-38
Authors: 
Robin, S.
Rusinowska, A.
Villeval, M.C.

We investigate experimentally ingratiatory behavior expressed by opinion conformity. Both individuals’ performance at a task and their opinions on various topics can be observed before unequal payoffs are assigned by a second mover. In some treatments, first movers can change their opinion after learning that held by the second mover. We find evidence of high ingratiation indices, as opinion conformity is rewarded. However, second movers reward conformity less when it is common knowledge that opinions can be manipulated strategically. Introducing a monetary cost for changing opinion reduces ingratiation. Introducing performance-related pay for the second mover makes ingratiation less rewarding but does not eliminate it completely. Reducing the noise in the measurement of ability has little effect.