Leonardo Bursztyn, Ingar Haaland, Aakaash Rao, Chris Roth, 30 July 2020

When outright racism is stigmatised, people may need justifications for publicly expressing anti-minority views. Using two large-scale online experiments, this column argues that people use justifications, such as the claim that immigrants cause crime, to excuse their anti-immigrant behaviour, even if they do not privately believe them. Prominent public figures such as populist politicians can thus generate waves of anti-minority behaviour by serving as suppliers of excuses.

Giovanni Facchini, Brian Knight, Cecilia Testa, 07 July 2020

The disproportionate arrest rates of black Americans is well established, but the relationship between racist police practices and political accountability is not. This column examines whether black voter turnout – which soared following the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – affected police departments in the southern US. It finds that an historically oppressed minority’s enfranchisement can lead to their improved treatment by police, but only when the chief law enforcement officers in a district are elected rather than appointed. While historical in nature, the findings have significant policy implications given ongoing debates about policing, race, and voting.

Irena Grosfeld, Seyhun Orcan Sakalli, Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 03 October 2019

It is commonly argued that political instability increases the likelihood of civil conflicts, while economic downturns can trigger civil conflict and aggravate ethnic violence. This column examines how political and economic factors interact to drive pogroms in an environment of widespread antisemitism, using data from the Russian Empire of the 19th and early 20th centuries. It finds that pogrom waves took place when and only when economic shocks coincided with political turmoil, and that occupational segregation between the Jews and the majority played an important role in triggering ethnic violence.  

Prottoy A. Akbar, Sijie Li, Allison Shertzer, Randall Walsh, 31 August 2019

The Great Migration is associated with increased residential segregation in northern cities, inflating rents and eroding housing values. This column uses new data at the block level to estimate the scale of price changes. Segregation and ghetto expansion meant that much of the gain in earnings for black families who moved north were cancelled out. The effects of this are still felt today.

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.

Eliana La Ferrara, Alberto Alesina, 27 May 2011

Southern US states have long been accused of discrimination against racial minorities – particularly blacks and Hispanics. This column looks for racial bias in criminal murder trials. It finds that a murder by an ethnic minority criminal against a white victim systematically receives harsher punishment than if the murder had been committed by a white criminal.

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