Endophilia or Exophobia: Beyond Discrimination

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 02.04.2013, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Daniel S. Hamermesh (Barnard College)


The immense literature on discrimination treats outcomes as relativistic: One group suffers relative to another. But does a difference arise because agents discriminate against others—are exophobic—or because they favor their own kind—are endophiles? We conduct a field experiment in which graders at one university are randomly assigned students’ exams that did or did not contain the students’ names. Examining the effects of matches by nationality or gender on exam scores, on average we find favoritism but no discrimination by nationality, and neither favoritism nor discrimination by gender. Favoritism by nationality is due chiefly to behavior by the most experienced graders and those who had been rated as poor teachers in previous courses. We observe heterogeneity in both discrimination and favoritism by nationality and by gender in the distributions of graders’ preferences. Although we could not perceive our own in-groups excepting as they contrast to out-groups, still the in-groups are psychologically primary. Hostility toward out-groups helps strengthen our sense of belonging, but it is not required.

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