Discrimination in Strategic Settings

64 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2016

See all articles by Dominik Duell

Dominik Duell

University of Essex

Dimitri Landa

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics

Date Written: September 8, 2016


In a laboratory investigation of a principal-agent relationship with moral hazard, we analyze strategically induced identity-based discrimination. We find that when principals use the sanctioning tools at their disposal in an outcome-contingent way, they attribute good outcomes more readily to their agents' effort and reward their agents more frequently when they share a social identity; when principals have no access to sanctioning tools or have access to them but do not use them to reward higher outcomes, their beliefs about agents' effort are not contingent on sharing agents' social identity. In a strategic setting, agents tend to anticipate needing to meet a lower outcome threshold to receive a reward from the same-identity principals and condition their effort choice on that expectation. They increase their effort in response to higher expected outcome demands and higher expectation of favorable identity-based reward bias. While, on average, principals' expectations about effort by same-identity agents tend to be close to correct, they underestimate the effort of the other-identity agents. A key factor determining the agents' responsiveness to their expectation of the principals' reward bias is the agents' attitude toward risk.

Keywords: Discrimination, Principal-Agent Relationship, Social Identity, Experiment

JEL Classification: J7, J15, J24, D83, D84

Suggested Citation

Duell, Dominik and Landa, Dimitri, Discrimination in Strategic Settings (September 8, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2836569 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2836569

Dominik Duell (Contact Author)

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Department of Government
Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom
+447703145012 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.dominikduell.com

Dimitri Landa

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

715 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics