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An Empirical Test of Taste-based Discrimination Changes in Ethnic Preferences and their Effect on Admissions to the NYSE during World War I

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  • Petra Moser

Abstract

A significant challenge to empirically testing theories of discrimination has been the difficulty of identifying taste-based discrimination and of distinguishing it clearly from statistical discrimination. This paper addresses this problem through a two-part empirical test of taste-based discrimination. First, it constructs measures of revealed preferences, which establish that World War I created a strong and persistent shock to ethnic preferences that effectively switched the status of German Americans to an ethnic minority. Second, the paper uses this shock to ethnic preferences to identify the effects of taste-based discrimination at the example of traders at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). A new data set of more than 4,000 applications for seats on the NYSE reveals that the War more than doubled the probability that German applicants would be rejected (relative to Anglo-Saxons). The mechanism of taste-based discrimination is surprising: Prices are unaffected by ethnic preferences, and discrimination operates instead entirely through admissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Petra Moser, 2008. "An Empirical Test of Taste-based Discrimination Changes in Ethnic Preferences and their Effect on Admissions to the NYSE during World War I," NBER Working Papers 14003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14003
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    Cited by:

    1. Galarza, Francisco B. & Yamada, Gustavo, 2014. "Labor Market Discrimination in Lima, Peru: Evidence from a Field Experiment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 83-94.
    2. Guy Michaels & Xiaojia Zhi, 2010. "Freedom Fries," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 256-281, July.
    3. Francisco Galarza & Liuba Kogan & Gustavo Yamada, 2011. "¿Existe discriminación en el mercado laboral de Lima Metropolitana? : un análisis experimental," Working Papers 11-15, Centro de Investigación, Universidad del Pacífico.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • N22 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N42 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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