To segregate, or to discriminate – that is the question: experiment on identity and social preferences

Produced by: 
Universidad del Rosario
Available from: 
September 2020
Paper author(s): 
Mariana Blanco
José-Alberto Guerra
Gender Economics
Poverty - Inequality - Aid Effectiveness

How do various sources of social identity affect segregation and discrimination decisions? In our laboratory experiment, social identity originates either from similar preferences, income, ability, randomly or from shared socioeconomic status. For the latter, we exploit Colombia’s unique (public information) stratification system which assigns households to socioeconomic strata based on its residential block amenities. Subjects decide with whom to interact in a Dictator and Trust Game. We find high socioeconomic status senders segregate against out-group receivers in the Dictator Game, while low socioeconomic ones do so in the Trust Game. This segregation pattern is partly explained by payoff-maximizing behavior. In the Trust Game, we gather evidence for statistical discrimination. In the Dictator Game, evidence points to a taste for redistribution when identity originates from socioeconomic status or income level. No matter the source of identity, our subjects expect being segregated but not discriminated against.


Research section: 
Latest Research
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