Beliefs about Racial Discrimination and Support for Pro-black Policies
102 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2017 Last revised: 25 Apr 2019
Date Written: February 5, 2019
We provide nationally representative evidence on people’s beliefs about hiring discrimination against black Americans and examine whether these beliefs causally affect support for pro-black policies. Using representative samples of Americans, we elicit quantitative and incentivized beliefs about the extent of hiring discrimination against blacks. 55 percent of Americans overestimate the extent of hiring discrimination against blacks, and Republicans are 19 percentage points less likely than Democrats to overestimate the extent of hiring discrimination against blacks. To introduce exogenous variation in beliefs, we provide a random subset of our respondents with research evidence from a correspondence study that tested for hiring discrimination against blacks. The information treatment substantially narrows Republican–Democrat differences in beliefs, but fails to narrow differences in policy views. Our findings demonstrate that correcting biases in beliefs about the extent of hiring discrimination against blacks is not sufficient to reduce political polarization in support for pro-black policies.
Keywords: Racial Discrimination, Beliefs, Affirmative Action, Belief Extrapolation, Policy Preferences
JEL Classification: C91, D83, F22, J15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation