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Competitive preferences and ethnicity: experimental evidence from Bangladesh

Competitive preferences and ethnicity: experimental evidence from Bangladesh
Competitive preferences and ethnicity: experimental evidence from Bangladesh
In many countries, ethnic minorities have a persistent disadvantageous socioeconomic position. We investigate whether aversion to competing against members of the ethnically dominant group could be a contributing factor to this predicament. We conducted a lab-in-the-field experiment in rural Bangladesh recruiting males from the ethnic majority (Bengali) and an underprivileged ethnic minority group (Santal) that is severely discriminated against. We randomly assign participants into groups with different ethnic composition and elicit a measure of their competitiveness. We find that when compelled to compete, there are no ethnic differences in performance and that both ethnic groups perform better in ethnically-mixed groups than in homogeneous groups. We also find that the ethnic composition of the group of competitors is an important determinant of competitive entry and its effect varies by ethnic group. Members of the ethnic minority group are less likely to compete in groups where they are a numerical minority than when all competitors are co-ethnic, whereas the reverse is true for members of the ethnic majority group. This difference is not explained by heterogeneity in performance, risk preferences, beliefs about relative ability or various socioeconomic characteristics; instead, observed behavior seems to be driven by ethnic differences in preference for interethnic competition.
0013-0133
Siddique, Abu
8d55d956-7044-4e78-9cee-cc6fa539a36c
Vlassopoulos, Michael
2d557227-958c-4855-92a8-b74b398f95c7
Siddique, Abu
8d55d956-7044-4e78-9cee-cc6fa539a36c
Vlassopoulos, Michael
2d557227-958c-4855-92a8-b74b398f95c7

Siddique, Abu and Vlassopoulos, Michael (2019) Competitive preferences and ethnicity: experimental evidence from Bangladesh. The Economic Journal. (doi:10.1093/ej/uez063).

Record type: Article

Abstract

In many countries, ethnic minorities have a persistent disadvantageous socioeconomic position. We investigate whether aversion to competing against members of the ethnically dominant group could be a contributing factor to this predicament. We conducted a lab-in-the-field experiment in rural Bangladesh recruiting males from the ethnic majority (Bengali) and an underprivileged ethnic minority group (Santal) that is severely discriminated against. We randomly assign participants into groups with different ethnic composition and elicit a measure of their competitiveness. We find that when compelled to compete, there are no ethnic differences in performance and that both ethnic groups perform better in ethnically-mixed groups than in homogeneous groups. We also find that the ethnic composition of the group of competitors is an important determinant of competitive entry and its effect varies by ethnic group. Members of the ethnic minority group are less likely to compete in groups where they are a numerical minority than when all competitors are co-ethnic, whereas the reverse is true for members of the ethnic majority group. This difference is not explained by heterogeneity in performance, risk preferences, beliefs about relative ability or various socioeconomic characteristics; instead, observed behavior seems to be driven by ethnic differences in preference for interethnic competition.

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Full Competitiveness Paper - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 2 June 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 5 November 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 431913
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/431913
ISSN: 0013-0133
PURE UUID: 00d57b66-3c55-48ed-97fc-650fcd7e6481
ORCID for Michael Vlassopoulos: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3683-1466

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Date deposited: 21 Jun 2019 16:30
Last modified: 19 Nov 2019 01:44

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