Ethnic and Social Barriers to Cooperation : Experiments Studying the Extent and Nature of Discrimination in Urban Peru
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Show a series of experiments to understand the nature of discrimination in urban Lima, Peru. The experiments exploit degrees of information on performance as a way to assess how personal characteristics affect how people sort into groups. Our results show that behavior is not correlated with personal socio-economic and racial characteristics. That is, if discrimination exists in urban Lima, this cannot be explained by theories of statistical discrimination. However, our results show that people do use personal characteristics to sort themselves into groups. Height is a robust predictor of being desirable as is being a woman. Looking indigenous makes one less desirable and looking white increases one’s desirability. Interestingly, our experiments show that once information on performance is provided, almost all evidence of discrimination is eliminated. This is evidence of stereotyping rather than preference-based discrimination. Clear information trumps discrimination.