Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics

CeDEx 2017-11: On the social inappropriateness of discrimination


We experimentally investigate the relationship between discriminatory behaviour and the perceived social inappropriateness of discrimination. We test the framework of Akerlof and Kranton (2000, 2005), which suggests discrimination will be stronger when social norms favour it. Our results support this prediction. Using a Krupka-Weber social norm elicitation task, we find participants perceive it to be less socially inappropriate to discriminate on the basis of social identities artificially induced, using a trivial minimal group technique, than on the basis of nationality. Correspondingly, we find that participants discriminate more in the artificial identity setting. Our results suggest norms and the preference to comply with them affect discriminatory decisions and that the social inappropriateness of discrimination moderates discriminatory behaviour.

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This is a revised version of 2015-25



Abigail Barr, Tom Lane, Daniele Nosenzo


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Posted on Thursday 29th June 2017

Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics

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