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Discrimination and Nepotism: The Efficiency of the Anonymity Rule

  • Fershtman, Chaim
  • Gneezy, Uri
  • Verboven, Frank

The Paper considers two categories of discrimination: ‘discrimination against’ and ‘discrimination in favour’, which Becker coins ‘nepotism’. The Paper develops an experimental test to distinguish between these two types of discrimination. The experiment compares the behaviour towards individuals of different groups with the behaviour towards anonymous individuals (those having no clear group affiliation). We illustrate the two attitudes by considering two segmented societies: Belgian society, with its linguistic segmentation between the Flemish and the Walloons, and Israeli society, where we focus on religious versus secular segmentation. In Belgium, we find evidence of discrimination against. Both the Walloons and the Flemish treat people of their own group in the same way as anonymous individuals while discriminating against individuals of the other group. In contrast, the behaviour of ultra orthodox religious Jews in Israel can be categorized as nepotism: they favour members of their own group while treating anonymous individuals in the same way as secular individuals. The distinction between the different types of discrimination is important in evaluating the effectiveness and the efficiency consequences of anti-discriminatory legislations.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3175.

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Date of creation: Jan 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3175
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  1. Chaim Fershtman & Uri Gneezy, 2001. "Discrimination In A Segmented Society: An Experimental Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 351-377, February.
  2. Helen F. Ladd, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Mortgage Lending," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 41-62, Spring.
  3. Ayres, Ian & Siegelman, Peter, 1995. "Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining for a New Car," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 304-21, June.
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  9. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Trust in Large Organizations," NBER Working Papers 5864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1998. "What Has Economics to Say about Racial Discrimination?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 91-100, Spring.
  11. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
  12. Andreoni, James & Vesterlund, Lise, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," Staff General Research Papers 1951, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  13. Glenn C. Loury, 1998. "Discrimination in the Post-Civil Rights Era: Beyond Market Interactions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 117-126, Spring.
  14. William A. Darity & Patrick L. Mason, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Employment: Codes of Color, Codes of Gender," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 63-90, Spring.
  15. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-35, May.
  16. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  17. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
  18. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-60, June.
  19. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 2001. "Chivalry and Solidarity in Ultimatum Games," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 171-88, April.
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