Cevat Giray Aksoy, Christopher S. Carpenter, Ralph De Haas, Mathias Dolls, Lisa Windsteiger, 09 January 2022

Progress in rights for homosexual and bisexual individuals has varied substantially across the world. This column uses an information treatment experiment to examine the determinants of support for sexual minorities in three countries with some of the lowest rates of social acceptance in Europe – Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine. It finds that when informed about the economic costs of discrimination, individuals in countries with strong views about the immorality of homosexuality can still voice support for non-discrimination policies. In addition, views about the acceptability of homosexuality itself can be modestly affected by the provision of basic information, particularly when framed in the context of institutions that people trust.

Alberto Alesina, Matteo F. Ferroni, Stefanie Stantcheva, 12 November 2021

The proportion of Black Americans living below the poverty line is more than twice that of white Americans. Using large-scale survey and experimental data, this column investigates how Black and white Americans perceive racial inequities, why they believe those inequities persist, and what interventions they would support to correct them. A stark partisan gap emerges: white Democrats and Black respondents tend to attribute racial inequities to the history of slavery and discrimination – and favour redistributive policies – while white Republicans tend to attribute those inequities to individual decisions or insufficient effort and oppose interventions to reduce them.

Michal Bauer, Jana Cahlíková, Julie Chytilová, Gérard Roland, Tomáš Želinský, 01 October 2021

Scapegoating refers to a social phenomenon whereby members of an aggrieved majority group retaliate against innocent third parties, usually members of vulnerable minority groups. This column uses an experiment set up between May and September 2017 in Eastern Slovakia – where a large Roma minority regularly suffers from discrimination – to measure how an injustice that affects a member of one’s own group shapes the punishment of an unconnected bystander (or scapegoat). The experiment shows that members of a majority group will systematically shift punishment onto innocent members of an ethnic minority. 

Francesco Principe, Jan van Ours, 22 August 2021

The mass media is the main source of information for fans of professional football, and racial bias in the way the media reports on sport activities would be a cause for concern. This column analyses data on over 400 players and shows that there is racial bias in the way Italian newspapers rate professional football players. Conditional on objective performance indicators, Black players receive a lower rating than non-Black players. The authors find no evidence of a racial bias in the wages Italian football clubs pay their players.

Shuai Chen, Jan van Ours, 24 July 2021

Same-sex marriage was legalised in the Netherlands in 2001. This column shows that this legislation improved the mental health of both married and non-married sexual minorities. It is likely to have improved societal tolerance of same-sex partnerships, impacting the discrimination experienced by sexual minorities.

Graziella Bertocchi, Arcangelo Dimico, 29 July 2020

COVID-19 pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on African Americans, who are dying at a rate two to three times higher than their population share. This column uses a detailed individual-level dataset from Cook County, Illinois, to explore the relationship between COVID-19 mortality and race. Not only are Black Americans disproportionally affected by COVID-19, but they also started to succumb to it earlier than other groups. Such asymmetric effects can be traced back to racial segregation introduced by discriminatory lending practices in the 1930s.

Johanna Rickne, Olle Folke, 21 May 2020

The #MeToo movement put a spotlight on a severe and highly prevalent workplace problem: sexual harassment. Using data from Sweden, this column argues that economists should treat sexual harassment as gender discrimination in work conditions. Both men and women are subject to this discrimination when they are part of gender minorities in occupations or workplaces.

Alvaro Calderon, Vasiliki Fouka, Marco Tabellini, 01 February 2020

The 1940-1970 Great Migration of African Americans was one of the largest episodes of internal migration in the US. This column examines how resulting changes in the racial composition of local constituencies affected voters’ preferences and politicians’ behaviour. It finds that Democrats and union members supported blacks’ struggle for racial equality, but that backlash against civil rights erupted among Republicans and among whites who more exposed to racial mixing of their neighbourhoods. It also shows that politicians largely responded to demands of their constituencies. The findings suggest that under certain conditions, cross-race coalitions can emerge, but they also indicate that changes in the composition of the electorate can polarise both voters and politicians.

Eliana La Ferrara, 11 October 2019

Eliana la Ferrara discusses her research on how to leverage the positive effects of racial diversity.

J Michelle Brock, Ralph De Haas, 07 October 2019

Discrimination in access to financial services can prevent women from exploiting their entrepreneurial potential. This column reports on a lab-in-the-field experiment to test for the presence of gender discrimination in small business lending in Turkey. It finds that while unconditional loan approval rates are the same for male and female applicants, there exists a more subtle form of discrimination, with loan officers 30% more likely to make loan approval conditional on the presence of a guarantor when an application appears to come from a female instead of a male entrepreneur. This discrimination is concentrated among young, inexperienced, and gender-biased officers.

Shari Eli, Trevon Logan, Boriana Miloucheva, 20 August 2019

The mortality gap between blacks and whites in the US has been well documented, but there is still considerable debate over why the gap has remained so large and why it has persisted over the last century. This column explores these questions using unique data on black and white Civil War veterans to measure one of the earliest known incidences of physician bias against African Americans. It shows that physician bias had large effects on income and longevity of blacks relative to whites and considers the ways in which doctor attitudes still contribute to the racial mortality gap today. 

Sascha O. Becker, Ana Fernandes, Doris Weichselbaumer, 05 June 2019

The arrival of a child affects women and men differently in terms of labour market outcomes, but it is difficult to separate out the causal impact of discrimination from other factors. This column uses empirical evidence from Germany, Switzerland, and Austria to show that women are most affected in part-time job applications if they signal a ‘risk’ of having young children soon.

Clémence Berson, Morgane Laouénan, Emmanuel Valat, 27 April 2019

Hiring discrimination against ethnic minorities remains an important issue in most industrialised countries, but few tools have proven their effectiveness in fighting this discrimination. Based on an original correspondence study in France, this column argues that the organisation of recruitment has a large impact on discrimination.The findings suggest that companies that centralise HR practices across establishments are less likely to discriminate against minority ethnic applicants in the first round of selection.

James J Feigenbaum, Christopher Muller, Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, 18 February 2019

The mortality rate of non-Hispanic white Americans in midlife has been rising since the beginning of the 21st century, in contrast to the national decline in deaths from infectious disease witnessed during the previous century. This column reviews the fall in infectious mortality in US cities across regions and racial groups. It finds that southern cities had the highest rate of death from infectious disease in every year from 1900 to 1948, primarily because southern cities were populated by greater proportions of black residents, who suffered extreme risks from infectious disease in cities in all regions. 

Alberto Alesina, Michela Carlana, Eliana La Ferrara, Paolo Pinotti, 02 February 2019

There is a lively debate whether biased behaviour can be changed through the use of ‘implicit bias training’ or awareness of stereotypes. Yet, there is no causal evidence to guide this debate. Using data on teachers’ stereotypes toward immigrants elicited through an Implicit Association Test in Italy, this column studies how revealing to teachers their own test score impacts their grading of immigrant and native students. Revealing stereotypes may be a powerful intervention to decrease discrimination; however, it may also induce a reaction from individuals who were not acting in a biased way.

Shelly Lundberg, Jenna Stearns, 18 December 2018

Although the share of women in top PhD-granting departments more than doubled between 1972 and 1993, this growth has stalled in recent years. This column reviews recent literature on women’s relative position in the discipline and assesses the evidence on barriers that female economists face in publishing, promotion, and tenure. It suggests that differentialassessment of men and women is one factor in explaining women’s failure to advance in economics and that continued progress toward equality in academic economics will require a concerted effort to remove opportunities for bias in the hiring and promotion processes.

Kilian Huber, Volker Lindenthal, Fabian Waldinger, 08 October 2018

Trump’s travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries sparked an outcry from businesses about their ability to recruit and retain talent. This column analyses the effect of the Nazis' purge of Jewish managers from German firms to understand the economic consequences of such discriminatory policies. Results show robust losses in terms of stock prices and dividend payments of affected firms. The policy reduced the aggregate market valuation of firms listed in Berlin by 1.78% of German gross national product.

Martín González Rozada, Eduardo Levy Yeyati, 07 September 2018

It is often assumed that the gender wage gap is driven by a demand bias. Using a large new dataset of job applications in Argentina, this column demonstrates that there is also supply bias – women ask for less pay than men for the same exact job. The analysis shows that this ‘ask gap’ is related to the job’s level, the occupation’s degree of female/male dominance, and the applicant’s age, and suggests that women may be acting on internalised stereotypes of the labour market.

Cevat Giray Aksoy, Christopher S. Carpenter, Jefferson Frank, Matt L. Huffman, 13 June 2018

Earnings gaps and ‘glass ceilings’ have been extensively documented for women and racial minorities. This column explores whether similar limits to advancement are present for sexual minorities, using data from the UK. Although gay men are found to be more likely than similar heterosexual men to report managerial authority, they seem to be restricted to low-level managerial positions, with little representation at higher levels. Similar glass ceiling effects are found for lesbians and bisexual adults, and the evidence is suggestive of discrimination playing a role. 

Victoire Girard, 19 May 2018

Affirmative action policies are widely used to tackle the underrepresentation of certain groups. However, the efficiency of these policies is fiercely debated. This column uses novel data from India to explore how affirmative action quotas affect everyday discrimination. Local political council quotas for marginalised castes are found to reduce caste-based discrimination by around one fifth, but the effect disappears when the quotas are removed.

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