Games and Discrimination: Lessons from the Weakest Link

UCSD Economics Working Paper No. 2003-03

32 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2003

See all articles by Kate Antonovics

Kate Antonovics

University of California, San Diego

Peter Arcidiacono

Duke University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Randall P. Walsh

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 2003

Abstract

Empirically determining whether wage differentials arise because of discrimination is extremely difficult, and distinguishing between different theories of discrimination is harder still. This paper exploits a number of unique features of a high-stakes television game show to determine which contestants discriminate and why. In the show, contestants take turns answering a series of trivia questions, and, at the end of each round of questions, one contestant is voted off by the other players in the round. Our results suggest no evidence of discriminatory voting patterns by males against females or by whites against blacks. However, somewhat surprisingly, we find that in the early rounds of the game women appear to discriminate against men. We test three competing theories for the voting behavior of women: Preference-based discrimination, statistical discrimination and strategic discrimination. In doing so, we highlight the types of experimental designs that could be used to distinguish between these theories. Only preference-based discrimination is consistent with the voting patterns.

Keywords: Discrimination, Experiments, Games

JEL Classification: J7, C9, C7

Suggested Citation

Antonovics, Kate and Arcidiacono, Peter and Walsh, Randall P., Games and Discrimination: Lessons from the Weakest Link (January 2003). UCSD Economics Working Paper No. 2003-03, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=376364 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.376364

Kate Antonovics (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego ( email )

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Peter Arcidiacono

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Randall P. Walsh

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics ( email )

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Boulder, CO 80309-0256
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303-492-4599 (Phone)
303-492-8622 (Fax)

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