Team member: Davide Maria Coluccia
MUR PRIN 2022
September 2023 - September 2025
Throughout history racial and ethnic discrimination has represented a major social problem and still today many minorities face restricted opportunities and fall victim to violent discriminatory episodes. But how does society at large react to discrimination? Do groups not directly discriminated against take a stance pro-/ against these discrimination episodes? Can the reaction of these “external” groups influence the general discriminatory environment? The goal of this project is to answer these questions using evidence from a lab-in-the-field experiment shedding light on the main patterns and on the underlying channels.
Around the world, millions of people in racial and ethnic minorities face restricted economic and social opportunities and fall victim to discrimination episodes. How does society at large react to discrimination? Do groups not directly discriminated against take a stance pro I against these discrimination episodes? Can the reaction of these "external" groups change the general discriminatory environment? The overarching goal of this project is to answer these questions using evidence from lab-in-the-field experiments, shedding light on the main patterns and on the underlying channels.
Importantly, these questions are in continuity with the PRIN project 2017ATLJHB on "Religious and Racial Discrimination Attitudes”: Evidence from a Contemporary and a Historical context ". The goal of the 2017 project was to leverage text analysis tools and high-frequency data to monitor the emergence and propagation of discriminatory episodes. Based on some results of the 2017 PRIN project (Section Bl.2), we now plan to investigate whether and why individuals who are not directly involved in the discriminatory episode express sentiments of hostility or solidarity towards either the victims or the aggressors - and to which extent their reaction changes the overall discriminatory environment and behavior. To answer these questions, we will design and run a set of innovative "lab-in-the-field" experiments. For this purpose we created a research group that includes scholars that have consolidated experience in running both field and laboratory experiments. The advantage of this approach is that by varying specific features of the experimental design we will be able to test specific hypotheses related to the mechanisms, as there are a wide range of factors - economic, cultural, and historical - that may determine how agents and groups react to witnessing discrimination episodes. In order to guide our empirical analysis, we also plan to develop a novel multi-group theory of solidarity vs. discrimination choices.
The project makes a ground-breaking contribution to the literature on the drivers and consequences of discrimination episodes. To the best of our knowledge, it will provide the first experimental evidence on how groups react to discrimination perpetrated against another group and whether their reaction affects the general discriminatory environment. Importantly, the aim of the project goes beyond the advances in academic knowledge. Uncovering the drivers of the reactions to discrimination will help policy makers design efficient anti-discriminatory policies and understand which groups should be targeted to avoid escalations (Section Bl.4). The most relevant part of the budget will be devoted to cover the costs of the experiment, while the remaining part will be used to hire young researchers who will work with the team members on the design of the experiment, its execution, and the final data analysis.
Other Research Units:
- Andrea Guariso, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca
- Paolo Masella, Università degli Studi di Bologna
This project has been funded by Ministero dell'Università e della Ricerca under the framework PRIN 2022 - Progetti di ricerca di Rilevante Interesse Nazionale.