Diversity and Redistributive Preferences: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment in Colombia
39 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2016
Date Written: September 21, 2016
Does class diversity affect preferences for redistribution and academic performance? I present results testing the effect of exposure to poor individuals on rich individuals’ perceptions of inequality and poverty, beliefs of social justice, redistributive preferences, and academic outcomes. I exploit the plausibly exogenous timing of a financial aid program that generated an unprecedented and discontinuous jump in the presence of poor students at an elite university in Colombia and test the effect of this shock in peer characteristics using survey experiments. I find a significant positive effect of exposure to poor students on interactions among students with heterogeneous family backgrounds, an increase in perceived inequality, poverty and upward social mobility, a higher perception of meritocracy in college admissions, and a stronger support for redistribution. I find no significant effect on dropout rates and GPA. Moreover, I find weak evidence that younger cohorts are reacting to what has become a more competitive college admissions process by exerting more effort in preparing for the entry exam.
Keywords: Redistributive Preferences, Perception of Inequality, Diversity
JEL Classification: H23, I22, I23, I24, O15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation