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Testing Theories of Discrimination: Evidence from Weakest Link

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  • Levitt, Steven D

Abstract

Contestant voting behavior on the television game show Weakest Link provides an unusual opportunity to distinguish between taste-based and information-based theories of discrimination. In early rounds, strategic incentives encourage voting for the weakest competitors. In later rounds, the incentives reverse and the strongest competitors become the logical target. Controlling for other characteristics, both theories of discrimination predict that in early rounds excess votes will be made against groups targeted for discrimination. In later rounds, however, taste-based models predict continued excess votes, whereas statistical discrimination predicts fewer votes against the target group. Although players are voting strategically, evidence of discrimination is limited. There is little in the data to suggest discrimination against women and blacks. I find some patterns consistent with information-based discrimination toward Hispanics (other players perceive them as having low ability) and taste-based discrimination against older players (other players treat them with animus).

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 47 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 431-52

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:y:2004:v:47:i:2:p:431-52

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  1. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, . ""Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence''," CARESS Working Papres 99-06, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  2. Metrick, Andrew, 1995. "A Natural Experiment in "Jeopardy!"," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 240-53, March.
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  8. Lawrence M. Kahn, 1991. "Discrimination in professional sports: A survey of the literature," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(3), pages 395-418, April.
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  10. Coate, S. & Loury, G.C., 1992. "Will Affirmative Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," Papers 3, Boston University - Department of Economics.
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  1. Tellynomics
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2010-03-02 14:19:14
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