News Release

Houser to receive funding for doctoral dissertation research in economics: An experimental analysis of the role of group identity in leadership effectiveness

Grant and Award Announcement

George Mason University

Daniel E. Houser, Director/Professor/Chair, Economics, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, is set to receive $8,327 from the National Science Foundation for the project: "Doctoral Dissertation Research in Economics: An experimental analysis of the role of group identity in leadership effectiveness." 

Via this project, Moumita Roy, Co-Principal Investigator, proposes to run a laboratory experiment to observe the impact of a shared group identity on leader effectiveness. In natural environments, ingroup bias against outsiders in leadership positions can be a key deterrent to effective leadership. Laboratory participants acting as followers will decide whether to follow a leader's cooperation suggestion. The difference in a group's cooperation levels under ingroup and outgroup leadership will help in isolating the effects of shared group identity on leadership effectiveness. Discrimination against outgroup leaders can lead to adverse social welfare consequences. With this research, Houser and Roy expect to contribute to the economics literature an understanding of the effect of leader-follower relationships on leader effectiveness and team cooperation. The broad objective of this research is to make policy suggestions with regard to more diversity and inclusion in leadership. 

Houser and Roy also plan to extend this research to a second study in which leaders use a reward mechanism to incentivize higher cooperation. Their goal is to observe whether a reward mechanism can bridge the gap between ingroup and outgroup leader effectiveness. 

Funding for this project will begin in September 2021 and will end in late August 2022. 


About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia's largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 38,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the last half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. Learn more at


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