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Attention Discrimination: Theory and Field Experiments with Monitoring Information Acquisition

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  • Vojtěch Bartoš
  • Michal Bauer
  • Julie Chytilová
  • Filip Matějka

Abstract

We integrate tools to monitor information acquisition in field experiments on discrimination and examine whether gaps arise already when decision makers choose the effort level for reading an application. In both countries we study, negatively stereotyped minority names reduce employers' effort to inspect resumes. In contrast, minority names increase information acquisition in the rental housing market. Both results are consistent with a model of endogenous allocation of costly attention, which magnifies the role of prior beliefs and preferences beyond the one considered in standard models of discrimination. The findings have implications for magnitude of discrimination, returns to human capital and policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Vojtěch Bartoš & Michal Bauer & Julie Chytilová & Filip Matějka, 2016. "Attention Discrimination: Theory and Field Experiments with Monitoring Information Acquisition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(6), pages 1437-1475, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:106:y:2016:i:6:p:1437-75
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20140571
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    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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