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Discrimination in a Segmented Society: An Experimental Approach

Chaim Fershtman and Uri Gneezy

The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2001, vol. 116, issue 1, 351-377

Abstract: This paper proposes an experimental approach to studying different aspects of discrimination. We let participants play various games with opponents of distinct ethnic affiliation. Strategies based upon such ethnic affiliation provide direct evidence of ethnic discrimination. This approach was utilized to study ethnic discrimination in Israeli Jewish society. Using the "trust game," we detected a systematic mistrust toward men of Eastern origin. A "dictator game" experiment indicated that this discrimination was due to (mistaken) ethnic stereotypes and not to a "taste for discrimination." The "ultimatum game" enabled us to trace another ethnic stereotype that reversed the discrimination's direction. One of the surprising results is that this ethnic discrimination is an entirely male phenomenon.

Date: 2001
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