IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/isu/genstf/202002230800001098.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Do workers discriminate against their out-group employers? Evidence from the gig economy

Author

Listed:
  • Asad, Sher Afghan
  • Banerjee, Ritwik
  • Bhattacharya, Joydeep

Abstract

We study possible worker-to-employer discrimination manifested via social preferences in an online labor market. Specifically, we ask, do workers exhibit positive social preferences for an out-race employer relative to an otherwise-identical, own-race one? We run a well-powered, model-based experiment wherein we recruit 6,000 workers from Amazon’s M-Turk platform for a real-effort task and randomly (and unobtrusively) reveal to them the racial identity of their non-fictitious employer. Strikingly, we find strong evidence of race-based altruism – white workers, even when they do not benefit personally, work relatively harder to generate more income for black employers. Self-declared white Republicans and Independents exhibit significantly more altruism relative to Democrats. Notably, the altruism does not seem to be driven by race-specific beliefs about the income status of the employers. Our results suggest the possibility that pro-social behavior of whites toward blacks, atypical in traditional labor markets, may emerge in the gig economy where associative (dis)taste is naturally muted due to limited social contact.

Suggested Citation

  • Asad, Sher Afghan & Banerjee, Ritwik & Bhattacharya, Joydeep, 2020. "Do workers discriminate against their out-group employers? Evidence from the gig economy," ISU General Staff Papers 202002230800001098, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isu:genstf:202002230800001098
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1098&context=econ_workingpapers
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Emily Breza & Supreet Kaur & Yogita Shamdasani, 2018. "The Morale Effects of Pay Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(2), pages 611-663.
    2. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
    3. J. Aislinn Bohren & Kareem Haggag & Alex Imas & Devin G. Pope, 2019. "Inaccurate Statistical Discrimination: An Identification Problem," PIER Working Paper Archive 19-010, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 17 Jul 2020.
    4. Simon, Herbert A, 1993. "Altruism and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 156-161, May.
    5. Dylan Glover & Amanda Pallais & William Pariente, 2017. "Discrimination as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Evidence from French Grocery Stores," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(3), pages 1219-1260.
    6. Stefano DellaVigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier & Gautam Rao, 2022. "Estimating Social Preferences and Gift Exchange at Work," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 112(3), pages 1038-1074, March.
    7. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Jonathan Guryan, 2011. "Studying Discrimination: Fundamental Challenges and Recent Progress," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 479-511, September.
    8. 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.
    9. Robert W. Fairlie & Alicia M. Robb, 2007. "Why Are Black-Owned Businesses Less Successful than White-Owned Businesses? The Role of Families, Inheritances, and Business Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(2), pages 289-323.
    10. Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2010. "Automatic associations and discrimination in hiring: Real world evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 523-534, June.
    11. Gabriele Paolacci & Jesse Chandler & Panagiotis G. Ipeirotis, 2010. "Running experiments on Amazon Mechanical Turk," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 5(5), pages 411-419, August.
    12. Grossman, Philip J. & Eckel, Catherine & Komai, Mana & Zhan, Wei, 2019. "It pays to be a man: Rewards for leaders in a coordination game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 197-215.
    13. Andreoni, James & Payne, A. Abigail & Smith, Justin & Karp, David, 2016. "Diversity and donations: The effect of religious and ethnic diversity on charitable giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 47-58.
    14. Abel, Martin, 2019. "Do Workers Discriminate against Female Bosses?," IZA Discussion Papers 12611, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Gary Charness & Luca Rigotti & Aldo Rustichini, 2007. "Individual Behavior and Group Membership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1340-1352, September.
    16. Puppe Clemens & Sebastian Kube & Michel Marechal, 2006. "Putting reciprocity to work - positive versus negative responses in the field," Natural Field Experiments 00291, The Field Experiments Website.
    17. Stefano DellaVigna & Devin Pope, 2018. "What Motivates Effort? Evidence and Expert Forecasts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(2), pages 1029-1069.
    18. Eszter Czibor & David Jimenez‐Gomez & John A. List, 2019. "The Dozen Things Experimental Economists Should Do (More of)," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 86(2), pages 371-432, October.
    19. Sundstrom, William A., 1994. "The Color Line: Racial Norms and Discrimination in Urban Labor Markets, 1910–1950," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(2), pages 382-396, June.
    20. Rich, Judy, 2014. "What Do Field Experiments of Discrimination in Markets Tell Us? A Meta Analysis of Studies Conducted since 2000," IZA Discussion Papers 8584, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    21. Uri Gneezy & John A List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1365-1384, September.
    22. Chaim Fershtman & Uri Gneezy, 2001. "Discrimination in a Segmented Society: An Experimental Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 351-377.
    23. Priyanka Chakraborty & Danila Serra, 2018. "Gender differences in top leadership roles: Does aversion to worker backlash matter?," Departmental Working Papers 1807, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    24. Jennifer L. Doleac & Luke C.D. Stein, 2013. "The Visible Hand: Race and Online Market Outcomes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(11), pages 469-492, November.
    25. Glenn C. Loury, 1998. "Discrimination in the Post-Civil Rights Era: Beyond Market Interactions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 117-126, Spring.
    26. Bohren, Aislinn & Haggag, Kareem & Imas, Alex & Pope, Devin G., 2019. "Inaccurate Statistical Discrimination," CEPR Discussion Papers 13790, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    27. Catherine C. Eckel & Ragan Petrie, 2011. "Face Value," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1497-1513, June.
    28. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    29. David Neumark, 2018. "Experimental Research on Labor Market Discrimination," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 56(3), pages 799-866, September.
    30. Joanna N. Lahey & Douglas R. Oxley, 2018. "Discrimination at the Intersection of Age, Race, and Gender: Evidence from a Lab-in-the-field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 25357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    31. Stefano DellaVigna, 2018. "Structural Behavioral Economics," NBER Working Papers 24797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    32. Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 2019. "Understanding Trends in Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States," NBER Working Papers 25425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    33. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-661, September.
    34. Ayalew, Shibiru & Manian, Shanthi & Sheth, Ketki, 2021. "Discrimination from below: Experimental evidence from Ethiopia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).
    35. Lane, Tom, 2016. "Discrimination in the laboratory: A meta-analysis of economics experiments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 375-402.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. 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.
    2. Islam, Asadul & Pakrashi, Debayan & Wang, Liang Choon & Zenou, Yves, 2018. "Determining the Extent of Statistical Discrimination: Evidence from a field experiment in India," CEPR Discussion Papers 12955, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Morten Størling Hedegaard & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2018. "The Price of Prejudice," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 40-63, January.
    4. Siddique, Abu & Vlassopoulos, Michael & Zenou, Yves, 2020. "Market Competition and Discrimination," IZA Discussion Papers 13269, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Halla, Martin & Kah, Christopher & Sausgruber, Rupert, 2021. "Testing for Ethnic Discrimination in Outpatient Health Care: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Germany," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 319, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    6. Ayaita, Adam, 2021. "Labor Market Discrimination and Statistical Differences in Unobserved Characteristics of Applicants," EconStor Preprints 236615, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    7. Button, Patrick & Walker, Brigham, 2020. "Employment discrimination against Indigenous Peoples in the United States: Evidence from a field experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    8. Brock, Michelle & de Haas, Ralph, 2020. "Discriminatory Lending: Evidence from Bankers in the Lab," CEPR Discussion Papers 14340, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. J. Aislinn Bohren & Kareem Haggag & Alex Imas & Devin G. Pope, 2019. "Inaccurate Statistical Discrimination: An Identification Problem," PIER Working Paper Archive 19-010, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 17 Jul 2020.
    10. Broockman, David E. & Soltas, Evan J., 2020. "A natural experiment on discrimination in elections," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).
    11. Bohren, Aislinn & Haggag, Kareem & Imas, Alex & Pope, Devin G., 2019. "Inaccurate Statistical Discrimination," CEPR Discussion Papers 13790, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Daniel J. Lee, 2016. "Racial bias and the validity of the Implicit Association Test," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2016-53, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. John M. Nunley & Adam Pugh & Nicholas Romero & Richard Alan Seals, Jr., 2014. "An Examination of Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Estimates from the Field," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2014-06, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
    14. Daniel J. Lee, 2016. "Racial bias and the validity of the Implicit Association Test," WIDER Working Paper Series 053, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. David Neumark, 2018. "Experimental Research on Labor Market Discrimination," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 56(3), pages 799-866, September.
    16. Abel, Martin, 2019. "Do Workers Discriminate against Female Bosses?," IZA Discussion Papers 12611, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Dan-Olof Rooth, 2021. "Correspondence testing studies," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 1-58, January.
    18. Veit, Susanne & Arnu, Hannah & Stasio, Valentina Di & Yemane, Ruta & Coenders, Marcel, 2022. "The “Big Two” in Hiring Discrimination: Evidence From a Cross-National Field Experiment," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 167-182.
    19. Kudashvili, Nikoloz & Lergetporer, Philipp, 2022. "Minorities’ strategic response to discrimination: Experimental evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 208(C).
    20. Dustan, Andrew & Koutout, Kristine & Leo, Greg, 2022. "Second-order beliefs and gender," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 200(C), pages 752-781.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:isu:genstf:202002230800001098. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/deiasus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Curtis Balmer (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/deiasus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.