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.

Erin Hengel, 22 December 2017

When evaluated by narrowly defined quality measures, women are often found to outperform men. This column uses an analysis of almost 10,000 articles in top economics journals to show that one area where this is the case is clarity of writing. Tougher editorial standards and/or biased referee assignment may force women to write better, and may also reduce their productivity.

Cevat Giray Aksoy, Christopher S. Carpenter, Jefferson Frank, 03 January 2017

Previous studies on labour market discrimination based on sexual orientation have not revealed whether reported differences in earnings have been due to differences in the samples, populations, or outcomes, nor what the likely cause might be. Using a UK-wide dataset of sexual orientation and labour market earnings, this column shows that the overall difference in earnings for men who identify as gay is near zero irrespective of whether they are in a partnership or not, while women with a lesbian orientation have an earnings premium of about 5.5%. Specialisation explains earnings differences that depend on partnership status, though outside London there is some evidence of discrimination.

Philippe Jehiel, Laurent Lamy, 22 November 2016

Bid preferences and set-asides are popular discriminatory practices in US public procurement, but are prohibited in the EU. This column argues that discrimination can be cost-reducing provided it is targeted to favour those firms whose participation is more responsive to the auction procedure. Situations when set-asides may be cost-reducing are also discussed.

Laurent Gobillon, Matthieu Solignac, 21 January 2016

Assimilation of migrants can be measured in various ways, one such measure being their access to the homeownership market. This column argues that the evolution of homeownership rates of immigrants is a complex process, with important selection effects. In France, the homeownership rate among northern African immigrants lags behind not only that of natives, but also southern European immigrants. A possible reason is discrimination against northern African immigrants not only on the labour market, but also on the credit and housing markets.

Siwan Anderson, Debraj Ray, 10 October 2015

The developing world has notoriously low female-to-male sex ratios, a phenomenon that has been described as ‘missing women’. It is argued that this is driven by parental preferences for sons, sex-selective abortion, and different levels of care during infancy. This column shows that these higher rates of female mortality continue into adulthood. It argues that being unmarried, especially through widowhood, can have substantial effects on relative rates of female mortality in the developing world.

Huailu Li, Kevin Lang, Kaiwen Leong, 28 August 2015

Economic models suggest that competition will prevent those subjected to discrimination from being affected adversely. This column uses an unusual case study of sex workers in Singapore to reveal that having many actors on both sides of the market does not, in fact, eliminate discrimination. Policy intervention remains the best tool to end price discrimination.

Trevon Logan, John Parman, 09 March 2015

Racial disparities in socioeconomic conditions remain a major policy issue throughout the world. This column applies a new neighbour-based measure of residential segregation to US census data from 1880 and 1940. The authors find that existing measures understate the extent of segregation, and that segregation increased in rural as well as urban areas. The dramatic decline in opposite-race neighbours during the 20th century may help to explain the persistence of racial inequality in the US.

Francesco D'Acunto, Marcel Prokopczuk, Michael Weber, 26 February 2015

Discrimination can be costly for both victims and perpetrators. This column uses the variation of historical Jewish persecution across German counties to proxy for localised distrust in financial markets. Persecution reduces the average stock market participation rate of households by 7.5%–12%. This striking effect is stable over time, across cohorts, and across education levels. The effect survives when comparing only geographically close counties. It suggests that the persecution of minorities may negatively affect societal wealth even far into the future through the channel of intergenerationally transmitted investment norms.

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