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

Author

Listed:
  • Juan Camilo Cárdenas
  • Natalia Candelo
  • Alejandro Gaviria
  • Sandra Polanía
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Camilo Cárdenas & Natalia Candelo & Alejandro Gaviria & Sandra Polanía & Rajiv Sethi, 2008. "Discrimination in the Provision of Social Services to the Poor: A Field Experimental Study," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 3317, Inter-American Development Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:3317
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Shubham Chaudhuri & Rajiv Sethi, 2003. "Statistical Discrimination with Neighborhood Effects: Can Integration Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," Game Theory and Information 0312001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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 728-741, September.
    9. 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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    11. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2003. "Altruistic Punishment in Humans," Microeconomics 0305006, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Juan Camilo Cárdenas, 2009. "Experiments in Environment and Development," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 157-182, September.
    2. Abigail Barr & Andrew Zeitlin, 2011. "Conflict of interest as a barrier to local accountability," CSAE Working Paper Series 2011-13, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    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. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Müller, Ulrike, 2012. "Pro-poor Service Delivery and Social Identity," WIDER Working Paper Series 055, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social Development; discrimination; social services; Distributive Dictator Game; stigmatized groups;

    JEL classification:

    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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