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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 Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University)

  • Michael Rosenberg

    (Wayfair)

Abstract

We model the dynamics of discrimination and show how its evolution can identify the underlying source. We test these theoretical predictions in a ï¬ eld 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 evaluation histories. With no prior evaluations, women face signiï¬ cant discrimination. However, following a sequence of positive evaluations, the direction of discrimination reverses: women’s posts are favored over men’s. Interpreting these results through the lens of our model, this dynamic reversal implies discrimination driven by biased beliefs.

Suggested Citation

  • Aislinn Bohren & Alex Imas & Michael Rosenberg, 2018. "The Dynamics of Discrimination: Theory and Evidence," PIER Working Paper Archive 18-016, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Jul 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:18-016
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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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