DP17098 Brief cooperative contact with ethnic minorities reduces discrimination

Author(s): Eleonora Freddi, Jan Potters, Sigrid Suetens
Publication Date: March 2022
Keyword(s): behavioral games, cooperative contact, ethnic discrimination, ethnic diversity, natural field experiment, prejudice
JEL(s): C93, D91, J15, R23
Programme Areas: Public Economics, Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=17098

We carried out a natural field experiment in the Netherlands in which we randomly assigned high school students from the ethnic majority group to an ethnically homogeneous or mixed team to perform a cooperative task. One month later, the students made strategic choices in behavioral games with game partners that belonged to the majority group or to an ethnic minority group. We find that participation in the mixed-team intervention lessened discrimination among students who had no peers from a minority group in their regular classes. For students exposed to minority peers on a daily basis, there is no effect, but they had shown no evidence of discrimination in the first place. The results show that a relatively simple intervention that induces interethnic cooperative interaction can reduce discrimination among individuals who lack such interaction in their daily lives.