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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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Clots-Figueras, Irma & Iyer, Lakshmi & Vecci, Joseph, 2018. "Leader Identity and Coordination," IZA Discussion Papers 11803, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Alberto Alesina & Michela Carlana & Eliana La Ferrara & Paolo Pinotti, 2018. "Revealing Stereotypes: Evidence from Immigrants in Schools," NBER Working Papers 25333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Sule Alan & Ceren Baysan & Mert Gumren & Elif Kubilay, 2020. "Building Social Cohesion in Ethnically Mixed Schools: An Intervention on Perspective Taking," CESifo Working Paper Series 8754, CESifo.
    5. Billur Aksoy & Ian Chadd & Boon Han Koh, 2021. "(Anticipated) Discrimination against Sexual Minorities in Prosocial Domains," University of East Anglia School of Economics Working Paper Series 2021-08, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    6. Michela Carlana, 2019. "Implicit Stereotypes: Evidence from Teachers’ Gender Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 134(3), pages 1163-1224.
    7. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo, 2016. "Field Experiments on Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 22014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Alan Manning & Paolo Masella, 2018. "Diffusion of social values through the lens of US newspapers," CEP Discussion Papers dp1559, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    9. Roth, Christopher & Sumarto, Sudarno, 2015. "Does Education Increase Interethnic and Interreligious Tolerance? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," MPRA Paper 64558, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. 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.
    11. 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).
    12. 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.
    13. Macchiavello, Rocco & Menzel, Andreas & Rabbani, Atonu & Woodruff, Christopher, 2020. "Challenges of Change: An Experiment Promoting Women to Managerial Roles in the Bangladeshi Garment Sector," CEPR Discussion Papers 15085, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Paluck, Elizabeth Levy & Green, Seth Ariel & Green, Don, 2017. "The contact hypothesis re-evaluated," SocArXiv w2jkf, Center for Open Science.
    15. Matthew Lowe, 2020. "Types of Contact: A Field Experiment on Collaborative and Adversarial Caste Integration," CESifo Working Paper Series 8089, CESifo.
    16. Barron, Kai & Ditlmann, Ruth & Gehrig, Stefan & Schweighofer-Kodritsch, Sebastian, 2020. "Explicit and implicit belief-based gender discrimination: A hiring experiment," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2020-306, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    17. Sule Alan & Ceren Baysan & Mert Gumren & Elif Kubilay, 2020. "Building Inter-Ethnic Cohesion in Schools: An Intervention on Perspective-Taking," Working Papers 2020-009, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    18. Scacco, Alexandra & Warren, Shana S., 2018. "Can Social Contact Reduce Prejudice and Discrimination? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nigeria," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 654-677.
    19. Florio, Erminia, 2020. "Contact vs. Information: What shapes attitudes towards immigration? Evidence from an experiment in schools," GLO Discussion Paper Series 699, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    20. Alan Manning & Paolo Masella, 2018. "Diffusion of Social Values Through the Lens of US Newspapers," CEP Discussion Papers dp1559, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    21. 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.

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    Keywords

    stereotype reduction; performance gains;

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