Statistical discrimination and affirmative action in the lab

Ahrash Dianat, Federico Echenique, Leeat Yariv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We present results from laboratory experiments studying statistical discrimination and affirmative action. We induce statistical discrimination in simple labor-market interactions between firms and workers. We then introduce affirmative-action policies that vary in the size and duration of a subsidy that firms receive for hiring discriminated-against workers. These different affirmative-action policies have nearly the same effect, and practically eliminate discriminatory hiring practices. However, once lifted, few positive effects remain and discrimination reverts to its initial levels. One exception is lengthy affirmative-action policies, which exhibit somewhat longer-lived effects. Stickiness of beliefs, which we elicit, helps explain the observed outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-58
Number of pages18
JournalGames and Economic Behavior
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Affirmative action
  • Experiments
  • Statistical discrimination


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