This research examines the question of whether the psychology of social identity can be extended to enhance cooperative motives in the context of very large, global collectives.
Our data come from a multi-national study of the relationship between globalization and individual choice behavior in a multi-level public goods dilemma. Samples were drawn from the general populations of the United States, Italy, Russia, Argentina, South Africa, and Iran. Results demonstrate that an inclusive social identification with the world community is a meaningful psychological construct that plays a role in motivating cooperation that transcends parochial interests. Further, self-reported identification with the world as a whole predicts behavioral contributions to a global public good above and beyond expectations about what other group participants are likely to contribute. Global social identity is associated with a generalized concern for global welfare that may motivate individuals to contribute to collective goods regardless of expected investment returns.