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Interaction, stereotypes and performance. Evidence from South Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Lucia Corno

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Queen Mary, University of London)

  • Eliana La Ferrara

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Bocconi University)

  • Justine Burns

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

Abstract

We exploit a policy designed to randomly allocate roommates in a large South African university to investigate whether inter-racial interaction affects stereotypes, attitudes and performance. Using Implicit Association Tests, we find that living with a roommate of a different race reduces white students? negative stereotypes towards blacks and increases inter-racial friendships. Interaction also affects academic outcomes: blacks in mixed rooms improve their GPA, pass more exams and have lower dropout rates. This positive effect is not driven by the ability of the roommate and is stronger the lower the roommate?s prejudice, suggesting a complementarity between stereotype reduction and performance gains.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucia Corno & Eliana La Ferrara & Justine Burns, 2019. "Interaction, stereotypes and performance. Evidence from South Africa," IFS Working Papers W19/03, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:19/03
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    File URL: https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/wps/WP201903.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sara Lowes & Nathan Nunn & James A. Robinson & Jonathan Weigel, 2015. "Understanding Ethnic Identity in Africa: Evidence from the Implicit Association Test (IAT)," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 340-345, May.
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    3. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2011. "Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1739-1774, August.
    4. Robert Garlick, 2018. "Academic Peer Effects with Different Group Assignment Policies: Residential Tracking versus Random Assignment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 345-369, July.
    5. Scacco, Alexandra & Warren, Shana S., 2018. "Can Social Contact Reduce Prejudice and Discrimination? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nigeria," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 654-677.
    6. Scacco, Alexandra & Warren, Shana S., 2018. "Can Social Contact Reduce Prejudice and Discrimination? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nigeria," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 654-677, August.
    7. Scott E. Carrell & Bruce I. Sacerdote & James E. West, 2013. "From Natural Variation to Optimal Policy? The Importance of Endogenous Peer Group Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(3), pages 855-882, May.
    8. Johanne Boisjoly & Greg J. Duncan & Michael Kremer & Dan M. Levy & Jacque Eccles, 2006. "Empathy or Antipathy? The Impact of Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1890-1905, December.
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    11. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4392 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Scacco, Alexandra & Warren, Shana S., 2018. "Can Social Contact Reduce Prejudice and Discrimination? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nigeria," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 654-677.
    2. Manning, Alan & Masella, Paolo, 2018. "Diffusion of social values through the lens of US newspapers," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 91680, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Finseraas, Henning & Hanson, Torbjørn & Johnsen, Åshild A. & Kotsadam, Andreas & Torsvik, Gaute, 2019. "Trust, ethnic diversity, and personal contact: A field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 72-84.
    4. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Clots-Figueras, Irma & Iyer, Lakshmi & Vecci, Joseph, 2018. "Leader Identity and Coordination," IZA Discussion Papers 11803, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Alberto Alesina & Michela Carlana & Eliana La Ferrara & Paolo Pinotti, 2018. "Revealing Stereotypes: Evidence from Immigrants in Schools," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1817, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    6. Maiti, Surya Nath & Pakrashi, Debayan & Saha, Sarani & Smyth, Russell, 2020. "Don’t judge a book by its cover: The role of intergroup contact in reducing prejudice in conflict settings," GLO Discussion Paper Series 549, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    7. Jarotschkin, Alexandra & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2019. "Diffusion of Gender Norms: Evidence from Stalin's Ethnic Deportations," CEPR Discussion Papers 13865, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Marcel Fafchamps & Di Mo, 2018. "Peer effects in computer assisted learning: evidence from a randomized experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(2), pages 355-382, June.
    9. Michela Carlana, 2019. "Implicit Stereotypes: Evidence from Teachers’ Gender Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 134(3), pages 1163-1224.
    10. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo, 2016. "Field Experiments on Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 22014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    Keywords

    stereotype reduction; performance gains;

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