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The Dynamics of Discrimination: Theory and Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Aislinn Bohren

    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Alex Imas

    (Department of Economics, Carnegie Melon University)

  • Michael Rosenberg

    (Wayfair, Inc.)

Abstract

We model the dynamics of discrimination and show how its evolution can identify the underlying cause. We test these theoretical predictions in a field experiment on a large online platform where users post content that is evaluated by other users on the platform. We assign posts to accounts that exogenously vary by gender and history of evaluations. With no prior evaluations, women face significant discrimination, while following a sequence of positive evaluations, the direction of discrimination reverses: posts by women are favored over those by men. According to our theoretical predictions, this dynamic reversal implies discrimination driven by biased beliefs.

Suggested Citation

  • Aislinn Bohren & Alex Imas & Michael Rosenberg, 2017. "The Dynamics of Discrimination: Theory and Evidence," PIER Working Paper Archive 17-021, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 18 Nov 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:17-021
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Discrimination; Dynamic Behavior; Field Experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics

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