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Awareness Reduces Racial Bias

16 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2014  

Devin G. Pope

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Joseph Price

Brigham Young University

Justin Wolfers

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics; The Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan; University of Sydney Department of Economics; The Brookings Institution; Peterson Institute for International Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 25, 2014

Abstract

Can raising awareness of racial bias subsequently reduce that bias? We address this question by exploiting the widespread media attention highlighting racial bias among professional basketball referees that occurred in May 2007 following the release of an academic study. Using new data, we confirm that racial bias persisted in the years after the study's original sample, but prior to the media coverage. Subsequent to the media coverage though, the bias completely disappeared. We examine potential mechanisms that may have produced this result and find that the most likely explanation is that upon becoming aware of their biases, individual referees changed their decision-making process. These results suggest that raising awareness of even subtle forms of bias can bring about meaningful change.

Keywords: discrimination, implicit bias

JEL Classification: J150, J700, K310, L830

Suggested Citation

Pope, Devin G. and Price, Joseph and Wolfers, Justin, Awareness Reduces Racial Bias (February 25, 2014). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 4675. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2411444

Devin G. Pope

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Joseph Price

Brigham Young University ( email )

130 FOB
Provo, NY 84604
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/jpp34/

Justin Wolfers (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics ( email )

611 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
United States
734-764-2447 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

The Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan ( email )

735 South State Street, Weill Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-615-6846 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

University of Sydney Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box H58
Australia Square
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

The Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos/index_html?key=1737

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.cepr.org/researchers/details/rschcontact.asp?IDENT=157943

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Kiel Institute for the World Economy ( email )

P.O. Box 4309
Kiel, D-24100
Germany

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