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Interaction, stereotypes and performance. Evidence from South Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Lucia Corno

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

  • 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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    Keywords

    stereotype reduction; performance gains;

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