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Awareness Reduces Racial Bias

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Devin G. Pope & Joseph Price & Justin Wolfers, 2014. "Awareness Reduces Racial Bias," CESifo Working Paper Series 4675, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4675
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. N/A, 2010. "Referees," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(2), pages 261-262, March.
    2. David Marmaros & Bruce Sacerdote, 2006. "How Do Friendships Form?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 79-119.
    3. Luis Garicano & Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Canice Prendergast, 2005. "Favoritism Under Social Pressure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 208-216, May.
    4. Eric Zitzewitz, 2014. "Does Transparency Reduce Favoritism and Corruption? Evidence From the Reform of Figure Skating Judging," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 15(1), pages 3-30, February.
    5. Joseph Price & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1859-1887.
    6. Uri Gneezy & John List & Michael Price, 2012. "Toward an Understanding of Why People Discriminate: Evidence from a Series of Natural Field Experiments," Natural Field Experiments 00592, The Field Experiments Website.
    7. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jenq, Christina & Pan, Jessica & Theseira, Walter, 2015. "Beauty, weight, and skin color in charitable giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 234-253.
    2. Janelle Jones & John Schmitt, 2016. "Trends in Job Quality for African-American Workers, 1979–2011," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 43(1), pages 1-19, March.
    3. Chen, Daniel L., 2016. "Priming Ideology: Why Presidential Elections Affect U.S. Judges," TSE Working Papers 16-681, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Aug 2016.
    4. Janelle Jones & John Schmitt, 2014. "A College Degree is No Guarantee," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2014-08, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    5. Paul Gift, 2015. "Sequential Judgment Effects In The Workplace: Evidence From The National Basketball Association," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(2), pages 1259-1274, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    discrimination; implicit bias;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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