CeDEx Seminar - Matthew Ridley (University of Warwick)

A40 Sir Clive Granger Building
Wednesday 22nd November 2023 (13:00-14:00)

Mental Illness Discrimination

I study discrimination against people with symptoms of depression or anxiety, conditions which are very common, socially stigmatized, and linked to lower earnings and employment. In an online experiment, I find that people pay to avoid depressed or anxious coworkers in a simple communication-based problem-solving task—paying as much to avoid them as they do to work with the college-educated. A model of earnings-maximizing statistical discrimination with correct beliefs cannot explain these preferences: depressed or anxious coworkers are equally productive when exogenously assigned. Instead, I find evidence that discrimination is driven by incorrect beliefs about such coworkers as well as an increase in costly effort when working with them. A major motivation for tackling discrimination is often to encourage revelation of mental illness (thereby perhaps improving access to treatment or support); however, I find that people pay to hide mental illness in my setting even when insulated from rejection or any financial consequence of discrimination.


Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics

Sir Clive Granger Building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 951 5458
Enquiries: jose.guinotsaporta@nottingham.ac.uk
Experiments: cedex@nottingham.ac.uk