Ingar Haaland, NHH
ESOP seminar. Ingar Haaland is a PHD candidate at NHH - Norwegian School of Economics. He will present a paper entitled "Beliefs about Racial Discrimination: Representative Evidence" co-authored by Christopher Roth.
We provide nationally representative evidence on American people's beliefs about racial discrimination and explore whether these beliefs causally affect support for affirmative action programs. In an online experiment on a large, representative sample of Americans, we elicited incentivized beliefs about the extent of racial labor market discrimination against blacks. We document large heterogeneity in beliefs and find particularly pronounced political differences: Republicans are about 15 percentage points less likely than Democrats to overestimate racial discrimination in the labor market. To introduce exogenous variation in beliefs, we provided a random subset of our respondents with research evidence from a correspondence study that tested for discrimination against blacks in the labor market. Respondents strongly and persistently updated their beliefs about racial discrimination in response to the information. Treated respondents who underestimated racial discrimination also increased their donations to a pro-black civil rights organization by 18 percent of a standard deviation. However, the treatment did not reduce political polarization in donations as Republicans who underestimated racial discrimination did not increase their donations. This finding suggests that the political disagreement on affirmative action programs is not mainly determined by differences in beliefs about racial discrimination.
Host: Kalle Moene