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Awareness Reduces Racial Bias

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  • Devin G. Pope
  • Joseph Price
  • Justin Wolfers

Abstract

Can raising awareness of racial bias subsequently reduce that bias? We address this question by exploiting the widespread media attention highlighting racial bias among professional basketball referees that occurred in May 2007 following the release of an academic study. Using new data, we confirm that racial bias persisted in the years after the study's original sample, but prior to the media coverage. Subsequent to the media coverage though, the bias completely disappeared. We examine potential mechanisms that may have produced this result and find that the most likely explanation is that upon becoming aware of their biases, individual referees changed their decision-making process. These results suggest that raising awareness of even subtle forms of bias can bring about meaningful change.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4675.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4675

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Keywords: discrimination; implicit bias;

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  1. Price, Joseph & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees," IZA Discussion Papers 2863, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Luis Garicano & Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Canice Prendergast, 2001. "Favoritism Under Social Pressure," Working Papers 2001-16, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  3. David Marmaros & Bruce Sacerdote, 2006. "How Do Friendships Form?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 79-119, 02.
  4. Uri Gneezy & John List & Michael K. Price, 2012. "Toward an Understanding of Why People Discriminate: Evidence from a Series of Natural Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 17855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Giuliano, Laura & Levine, David I. & Leonard, Jonathan, 2006. "Do Race, Age, and Gender Differences Affect Manager-Employee Relations? An Analysis of Quits, Dismissals, and Promotions at a Large Retail Firm," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt9tc8n5j7, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  6. Michael A. Stoll & Steven Raphael & Harry J. Holzer, 2004. "Black job applicants and the hiring officer's race," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(2), pages 267-287, January.
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