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Discrimination in the provision of social services to the poor: a field experimental study

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  • Juan Camilo Cárdenas

    ()

  • Natalia Candelo

    ()

  • Alejandro Gaviria

    ()

  • Sandra Polania

    ()

Abstract

We use an experimental field approach to understand better the pro-social preferences andbehavior of both individuals involved in the provision of social services (public servants) and the behavior of those potential beneficiaries, the poor. We conducted field experiments using the Dictator, Ultimatum, Trust and Third Party Punishment games, and a newly designed Distributive Dictator Game. With these, we want to understand the traits and mechanisms that guide pro-sociality including altruism, reciprocal altruism, reciprocity, trust, fairness, inequity aversion, and altruistic (social) punishment. We recruited in Bogotá, Colombia more than 500 public servants and beneficiaries from welfare programs associated with health, education, childcare and nutrition. The overall results replicate the patterns of previous studies with these experimental designs, that is, individuals showed a preference for fair outcomes, positive levels of trust and reciprocity, and willingness to punish -at a personal cost, unfair outcomes if against themselves or if against third parties. By using more information about our participants we were able however to explain the observed variations in these behaviors. The results provide evidence that the poor trigger more pro-social behavior from all citizens including public servants, but the latter show more strategic generosity by graduating their pro-social behavior towards the poor depending on attributes of the beneficiaries or recipients of offers in these games. We observed a bias in favor of women and households with more number of dependents, but discriminatory behavior against particularly stigmatized groups in society such as ex-combatants from the political conflict, or street recyclers2.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE in its series DOCUMENTOS CEDE with number 003885.

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Length: 45
Date of creation: 14 Jul 2007
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Handle: RePEc:col:000089:003885

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Keywords: Distributive dictator game; Dictator Game; Ultimatum game; Trust Game; Third-Party Punishment game; pro-social behavior; public officials; field experiments.;

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  1. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  2. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Walrasian Economics In Retrospect," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1411-1439, November.
  3. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2003. "Altruistic Punishment in Humans," Microeconomics 0305006, EconWPA.
  4. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  5. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
  6. Christina M. Fong & Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2005. "Behavioural Motives for Income Redistribution," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 38(3), pages 285-297, 09.
  7. Juan Camilo Cardenas & Jeffrey Carpenter, 2008. "Behavioural Development Economics: Lessons from Field Labs in the Developing World," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(3), pages 311-338.
  8. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 991-1013, September.
  9. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226041162, June.
  10. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
  11. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  12. Branas-Garza, Pablo, 2006. "Poverty in dictator games: Awakening solidarity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 306-320, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Cárdenas Juan Camilo & Casas-Casas Andrés & Méndez Nathalie Méndez, 2014. "The Hidden Face of Justice: Fairness, Discrimination and Distribution in Transitional Justice Processes," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 20(1), pages 33-60, January.
  2. Juan Camilo Cárdenas & Andrés Casas-Casas & Nathalie Méndez Méndez, 2013. "The hidden face of Justice: Fairness, Discrimination and Distribution in Transitional Justice Processes," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 011470, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  3. Alberto Chong & Hugo Ñopo, 2007. "Discriminación en América Latina: Eso que (casi) todos vemos? (Discrimination in Latin America: An Elephant in the Room?)," Research Department Publications 4537, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  4. Alberto Chong & Hugo Ñopo, 2007. "Discrimination in Latin America: An Elephant in the Room?," Research Department Publications 4536, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  5. Abigail Barr & Andrew Zeitlin, 2011. "Conflict of interest as a barrier to local accountability," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2011-13, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Gustavo Adolfo García Cruz. & Luís Miguel Tovar Cuevas, 2006. "La Percepción del Estado de Salud: Una Mirada a las Regiones desde la Encuesta de Calidad de Vida 2003," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO-CIDSE 003972, UNIVERSIDAD DEL VALLE - CIDSE.
  7. Juan Camilo C�rdenas, 2009. "Experiments in Environment and Development," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 157-182, 09.

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