Discussion Paper Series in Economics, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)
Lars Ivar Oppedal Berge
How Strong are Ethnic Preferences?
(), Kjetil Bjorvatn
(), Simon Galle
(), Edward Miguel
(), Daniel Posner
(), Bertil Tungodden
() and Kelly Zhang
Abstract: Ethnic divisions have been shown to adversely affect
economic performance and political stability, especially in Africa, but the
underlying reasons remain contested, with multiple mechanisms potentially
playing a role. We utilize lab experiments to isolate the role of one such
mechanism—ethnic preferences—which have been central in both theory and in
the conventional wisdom about the impact of ethnic differences. We employ
an unusually rich research design, collecting multiple rounds of
experimental data with a large sample of 1,300 subjects in Nairobi;
employing within-lab priming conditions; and utilizing both standard and
novel experimental measures, including implicit association tests. The
econometric approach was pre-specified in a registered pre-analysis plan.
Most of our tests yield no evidence of coethnic bias. The results run
strongly against the common presumption of extensive ethnic bias among
ordinary Kenyans, and suggest that other mechanisms may be more important
in explaining the negative association between ethnic diversity and
economic and political outcomes.
Keywords: Ethnic preferences; Discrimination; Cooperation; Priming; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: D03; D64; D74; F63; (follow links to similar papers)
52 pages, November 26, 2015
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