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What is in a surname? The role of ethnicity in economic decision making

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This article reports results from two experiments that investigate possible incidence of discrimination against people with foreign backgrounds in Sweden. In the first experiment, participants played the trust game and the dictator game with co-players of different ethnic affiliation. The family name of the players was exposed to their co-players. Results for the trust game showed no significant discrimination against co-players with foreign backgrounds. On the other hand, the results for the dictator game showed a statistically significant discriminatory behaviour by men against co-players with non-European backgrounds. The discriminatory behaviour was solely a male phenomenon. In the second experiment, the dictator game was replicated to check the stability of the results in the first experiment. The second experiment also examined whether people with foreign backgrounds discriminate against other people with foreign backgrounds; that is, the purpose was to discover whether discrimination is systematic. The observations in the second experiment underlined the results found in the first experiment: foreign co-players are discriminated against by Swedish players. However, we did not find that people with foreign backgrounds discriminated against other people with foreign backgrounds.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFO), School of Management and Economics, Vaxjo University, SE-351 95 Vaxjo, Sweden

Publication date: 2010-08-01

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