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Title: The Dynamics of Discrimination: Theory and Evidence

Author(s): Aislinn Bohren, Alex Imas and Michael Rosenberg

Publication Date: August 2018

Keyword(s): discrimination

Programme Area(s): Industrial Organization and Labour Economics

Abstract: We model the dynamics of discrimination and show how its evolution can identify the underlying source. We test these theoretical predictions in a field experiment on a large online platform where users post content that is evaluated by other users on the platform. We assign posts to accounts that exogenously vary by gender and evaluation histories. With no prior evaluations, women face significant discrimination. However, following a sequence of positive evaluations, the direction of discrimination reverses: women's posts are favored over men's. Interpreting these results through the lens of our model, this dynamic reversal implies discrimination driven by biased beliefs.

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Bibliographic Reference

Bohren, A, Imas, A and Rosenberg, M. 2018. 'The Dynamics of Discrimination: Theory and Evidence'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research. https://cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13113