“Attention discrimination: Theory and field experiments with monitoring information acquisition” (with Michal Bauer, Julie Chytilová, and Filip Matějka)
American Economic Review, 2016, 106(6), 1437-75
“Exeter Prize for Research in Experimental Economics, Decision Theory and Behavioral Economics” sponsored by Exeter Business School
Best paper award on “Economics of Discrimination” sponsored by UniCredit & Universities Foundation
We integrate tools to monitor information acquisition in field experiments on discrimination and examine whether gaps arise already when decision-makers choose the effort level for reading an application. In both countries we study, negatively stereotyped minority names reduce employers’ effort to inspect applicants’ resumes. In contrast, minority names increase information acquisition in the rental housing market. Both results are consistent with a model of endogenous allocation of costly attention, which magnifies the role of prior beliefs and preferences beyond the one considered in standard models of discrimination. The findings have implications for magnitude of discrimination, returns to human capital and policy.
Supplementary online materials
“Parental leave length, social norms, and female labor market re-entry frictions” (with Barbara Pertold-Gebická) International Journal of Manpower, 2018, 39(4), 600-620
Supplementary online materials
“Who actually decides? Parental influence on the housing tenure choice of their children” (with Martin Lux, Tomáš Samec, Petr Sunega, Ján Pálguta, Irena Boumová, and Ladislav Kážmér), Urban Studies, 2018, 55(2), 406-426
“Covid-19 Crisis Fuels Hostility against Foreigners” (with Michal Bauer, Jana Cahlíková, and Julie Chytilová; Revise and resubmit in Nature Human Behaviour)
Intergroup conflicts represent one of the most pressing problems facing human society. Sudden spikes in aggressive behavior, including pogroms, often take place during periods of economic hardship or health pandemics, but little is known about the underlying mechanism behind such change in behavior. Many scholars attribute it to scapegoating, a psychological need to redirect anger and to blame an out-group for hardship and problems beyond one’s own control. However, causal evidence of whether hardship triggers out-group hostility has been lacking. Here we test this idea in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, focusing on the common concern that it may foster nationalistic sentiments and racism. Using a controlled money- burning task, we elicited hostile behavior among a nationally representative sample (n = 2,186) in a Central European country, at a time when the entire population was under lockdown and border closure. We find that exogenously elevating salience of thoughts related to Covid-19 pandemic magnifies hostility and discrimination against foreigners, especially from Asia. This behavioral response is large in magnitude and holds across various demographic sub-groups. For policy, the results underscore the importance of not inflaming racist sentiments and suggest that efforts to recover international trade and cooperation will need to address both social and economic damage.
Full paper | SSRN Discussion paper
“Seasonal scarcity and sharing norms” (submitted)
1st prize in the “Young Economist of the Year 2014” award sponsored by the Czech Economic Society
Sharing provides one of few sources of insurance in poor communities. It gains prominence during adverse shocks, often largely aggregate, when it is also costliest for individuals to share. Yet it is little understood how scarcity affects individual willingness to share and willingness to enforce sharing from others, an important ingredient in sustaining prosocial behavior. This is what this paper examines. I conduct repeated within-subject lab-in-the-field experiments among Afghan subsistence farmers during a lean and a post-harvest season of relative plenty. These farmers experience seasonal scarcities annually. Using dictator and third party punishment games I separate individual sharing behavior from enforcement of sharing norms. While sharing exhibits high degree of temporal stability at both the aggregate, and, to a large extent, at the individual level, the enforcement of sharing norms is substantially weaker during the lean season. The findings suggest that the farmers are capable of sustaining mutual sharing through transitory periods of scarcity. It remains an open question whether exposure to unexpected shocks or prolonged periods of scarcity might result in breakdown of prosociality due to loosened sharing norms enforcement on a community level.
“Sanctioning and trustworthiness across ethnic groups: Experimental evidence from Afghanistan” (with Ian Levely; Revise and resubmit in Journal of Public Economics)
We show how sanctioning is more effective in increasing cooperation between groups than within groups. We study this using a trust game among ethnically diverse subjects in Afghanistan. In the experiment, we manipulate i) sanctioning and ii) ethnic identity. We find that sanctioning increases trustworthiness in cross-ethnic interactions, but not when applied by a co-ethnic. While we find higher in-group trustworthiness in the absence of sanctioning, the availability and use of the sanction closes this gap. This has important implications for understanding the effect of institutions in developing societies where ethnic identity is salient. Our results suggest that formal institutions for enforcing cooperation are more effective when applied between, rather than within, ethnic groups, due to behavioral differences in how individuals respond to sanctions.
Full paper | CESifo Working paper
“Effects of Poverty on Impatience: Preferences or Inattention?” (with Michal Bauer, Julie Chytilová, and Ian Levely; Revise and resubmit in The Economic Journal)
We study two psychological channels how poverty may increase impatient behavior – an effect on time preference and reduced attention. We measured discount rates among Ugandan farmers who made decisions about when to enjoy entertainment instead of working. We find that experimentally induced thoughts about poverty-related problems increase the preference to consume entertainment early and delay work. The effect is equivalent to a 27 p.p. increase in the intertemporal rate of substitution. Using monitoring tools similar to eye tracking, a novel feature for this subject pool, we show this effect is not due to a lower ability to sustain attention.
Full paper | CEPR Discussion paper
Work in progress
- “Sanctions, Trustworthiness and Business Formalization in Malawi” (with Francisco Moraes Leitao Campos, Markus Goldstein, and Ian Levely)
- “Racial Discrimination in Seeking Advice” (with Ulrich Glogowsky and Johannes Rincke) [AEA RCT Registry]
- “The Importance of First Impressions: Reducing Mistreatment of Migrant Domestic Workers” (with Toman Barsbai, Victoria Licuanan, Andreas Steinmayr, Erwin Tiongson, and Dean Yang) [AEA RCT Registry 1] [AEA RCT Registry 2]
- “A Design-Based Approach Towards Understanding Gender Differences in Tournament Entry” (with Roel van Veldhuizen) [AEA RCT Registry]
- “Identifying and teaching high-growth entrepreneurship: Experimental evidence from entrepreneurship academies for university students in Uganda” (with Kristina Czura, Michael Kaiser, Timm Opitz, and Brendan Shanks) [AEA RCT Registry]
- “Caste differences in risk sharing attitudes” (with Tushi Baul)
Labor market (non-) discrimination of women in expected motherhood: Experimental evidence (A study for the Institute for Democracy and Economic Analysis IDEA; in Czech; 2015)
Three practical guidebooks prepared for a Czech NGO “People in Need” (with Ian Levely; 2014)
- Livelihood development: A practical guide to administering PIN livelihood development programs
- Impact evaluation: A practical guide to designing and administering impact evaluations of PIN programs
- Data collection: A practical guide to collecting data in developing countries