Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Discussion Paper Series in Economics,
Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics

No 2/2019: Beliefs About Racial Discrimination and Support for Pro-Black Policies

Ingar Haaland () and Christopher Roth ()
Additional contact information
Ingar Haaland: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Christopher Roth: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration

Abstract: We examine whether beliefs about racial discrimination causally affect support for pro-black policies. Using representative samples of Americans, we elicit quantitative and incentivized beliefs about the extent of labor market discrimination against blacks. 55 percent overestimate the extent of discrimination against blacks, and Republicans are 19 percentage points less likely than Democrats to overestimate discrimination. An information treatment substantially narrows Republican–Democrat differences in beliefs, but fails to narrow differences in political behavior. Overall, the results demonstrate that correcting biases in beliefs about the extent of racial discrimination is not sufficient to reduce political polarization in support for pro-black policies.

Keywords: Racial discrimination; Beliefs; Pro-black Policies; Policy Preferences

JEL-codes: C91; D83; J15; J71

101 pages, February 5, 2019

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