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Cultural diversity, discrimination and economic outcomes: An experimental analysis

Ronald Cummings and Paul Ferraro ()

Artefactual Field Experiments from The Field Experiments Website

Abstract: Economists have paid increasing attention to the role of cultural diversity in explaining the variability of economic outcomes across societies. We develop an experimental framework that complements existing research in this area. We implement the framework with two cultures that coexist in an industrialized society: the Hispanic and Navajo cultures in the southwestern United States. We vary the ethnic mix of our experimental sessions in order to infer the effect of intercultural interactions on economic behavior and outcomes. We control for demographic differences in our subject pools and elicit beliefs directly in order to differentiate between statistical discrimination and preference-based discrimination. We present clear evidence that Hispanic and Navajo subjects behave differently and that their behavior is affected by the ethnic composition of the experimental session. Our experimental framework has the potential to shed much needed light on economic behavior and outcomes in societies of mixed ethnicity, race and religion.

Date: 2005
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