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Discrimination in the Provision of Social Services to the Poor: A Field Experimental Study

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  • Juan Camilo Cardenas
  • Natalia Candelo
  • Alejandro Gaviria
  • Sandra Polania
  • Rajiv Sethi

Abstract

This paper uses an experimental field approach to investigate the pro-social preferences and behavior of social services providers and the behavior of potential beneficiaries in Bogota, Colombia. Field experiments were conducted using games including a newly designed Distributive Dictator Game in order to examine traits and mechanisms guiding pro-sociality. Replicating the patterns of previous studies, individuals showed a preference for fair outcomes, positive levels of trust and reciprocity, and willingness to punish unfair outcomes. The results provide evidence that the poor trigger more pro-social behavior from all citizens, including public servants, but the latter display strategic generosity. Additional observations include a bias in favor of women and households with more dependents, but discriminatory behavior against stigmatized groups.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 3247.

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Date of creation: Apr 2008
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3247

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  1. 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.
  2. Pablo Brañas-Garza, 2003. "Poverty in Dictator Games: Awakening Solidarity," IESA Working Papers Series 0303, Institute for Social Syudies of Andalusia - Higher Council for Scientific Research.
  3. 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.
  4. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Walrasian Economics in Retrospect," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-04, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  5. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2003. "Altruistic Punishment in Humans," Microeconomics 0305006, EconWPA.
  6. Jeffery Carpenter & Juan Camilo Cardenas, 2006. "Behavioural Development Economics: Lessons from field labs in the developing world," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0616, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "Third-party punishment and social norms," Experimental 0409002, EconWPA.
  9. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  10. 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.
  11. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226041162, March.
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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. 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.
  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. 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.
  5. Juan Camilo C�rdenas, 2009. "Experiments in Environment and Development," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 157-182, 09.
  6. Alberto E. Chong & Hugo R. Ñopo, 2007. "Discrimination in Latin America: An Elephant in the Room?," IDB Publications 6851, Inter-American Development Bank.

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