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Ethnic and Social Barriers to Cooperation: Experiments Studying the Extent and Nature of Discrimination in Urban Peru

  • Máximo Torero
  • Marco Castillo
  • Ragan Petrie

This paper presents a series of experiments on discrimination in urban Lima, Peru. The experiments exploit degrees of information on performance as a way to assess how personal characteristics affect how people sort into groups, and the results show that behavior is not correlated with personal socio-economic and racial characteristics. However, people do use personal characteristics to sort themselves into groups. Height is a robust predictor of being desirable, as is being a woman. Looking indigenous makes one less desirable, and looking “white” increases one’s desirability. Interestingly, our experiments show that once information on performance is provided, almost all evidence of discrimination is eliminated. Although there is evidence of stereotyping or preference-based discrimination, clear information trumps discrimination.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 3246.

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Date of creation: Apr 2008
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3246
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  1. Burnham, Terence C., 2003. "Engineering altruism: a theoretical and experimental investigation of anonymity and gift giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 133-144, January.
  2. P. A. Riach & J. Rich, 2002. "Field Experiments of Discrimination in the Market Place," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 480-518, November.
  3. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
  5. Nopo, Hugo & Saavedra, Jaime & Torero, Maximo, 2004. "Ethnicity and Earnings in Urban Peru," IZA Discussion Papers 980, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. repec:att:wimass:9127 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie, 2007. "Discrimination in the Warplace: Evidence from a Civil War in Peru," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2007-10, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  8. John List, 2004. "The nature and extent of discrimination in the marketplace: Evidence from the field," Natural Field Experiments 00299, The Field Experiments Website.
  9. Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie, 2006. "Discrimination in the Lab: Experiments Exploring the Impact of Performance and Appearance on Sorting and Cooperation," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-20, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, revised Dec 2006.
  10. Bogomolnaia, Anna & Jackson, Matthew O., 2002. "The Stability of Hedonic Coalition Structures," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 201-230, February.
  11. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2004. "Public goods experiments without confidentiality: a glimpse into fund-raising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1605-1623, July.
  12. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  13. Bohnet, Iris & Frey, Bruno S., 1999. "The sound of silence in prisoner's dilemma and dictator games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 43-57, January.
  14. Carter, Michael R. & Castillo, Marco, 2003. "An Experimental Approach to Social Capital in South Africa," Staff Paper Series 448, University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics.
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