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Media news and workplace discrimination: evidence from an experimental hiring task

Tuesday 15 June 2021, 1.00PM to 2:00 pm

Speaker(s): Matteo Migheli (Torino)

Host: Alessandra Foresta

Abstract:  Media affect people‚Äôs opinion about many matters, with effects on individual decision processes. This paper investigates the underexplored link between biased information and workplace discrimination through an artefactual job-market experiment mimicking hiring decisions. Participants are primed with newspaper articles presenting immigration in a positive, negative or neutral way. After the priming, participants perform a money-incentivized effort task, generating payoffs based on the productivity of a team that they are required to form. Teammates are hired from a list of candidates containing half native- and half foreign-sounding names, jointly with their productivity levels. The experiment is designed so that a profit-maximizer agent with no taste for discrimination should not care about the final ethnic composition of the team. Results show no main treatment effects, with neither (positively/negatively) biased nor neutral information affecting taste-based discrimination. However, conditional on political preferences, analytical thinking plays a moderating role, yet only for people primed with positive media messages. In this condition, more reflective participants discriminate less, since they might recognize positive media news on immigration as more reliable. This implies that nudging deliberative agents with pro-immigration narratives may help in mitigating ethnic-based discrimination in contexts where teamwork is required.

Paper: Media news and workplace discrimination (PDF , 356kb)


Location: ZOOM (details to follow)

Admission: All welcome