Formal education and intergroup behavior
Prior research has demonstrated that formal education is positively associated with lower self- reported intergroup prejudice towards many outgroups, including racial/ethnic outgroups. Two intergroup ideological attitudes, right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) and social dominance orientation (SDO), largely mediate this relationship, such that better educated individuals tend to report lower SDO and RWA, which are related to lower self-reported intergroup prejudice. Given this prior research, this study investigated the link between formal education and intergroup behavior displayed in an economic decision-making game, and how intergroup ideological attitudes mediated this relationship. A two-player Public Goods Game (PGG) with racial/ethnic ingroup and outgroup members was employed as a behavioral measure, because the PGG requires a player to cooperate in the face of a risk of defection to get better payoffs.Participants were always White Americans and had either a White (ingroup) or a Black (outgroup) game partner. The results indicated that there was no significant difference in contributions in the PGG between those with a Black game partner and those with a White game partner, and formal education did not significantly predict contributions in the PGG. Further, there was no significant interaction between formal education and game partner ethnicity.Finally, neither SDO nor RWA mediated the effect of formal education on contributions in the outgroup condition and not in the ingroup condition. Given these null results, explanations and future directions are discussed.