Do minorities hide their ethnicity to avoid being discriminated? Experimental evidence from Georgia
Last registered on October 11, 2017


Trial Information
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Do minorities hide their ethnicity to avoid being discriminated? Experimental evidence from Georgia
Initial registration date
October 11, 2017
Last updated
October 11, 2017 1:33 PM EDT

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The prevalence of discrimination against minorities is well documented in the econom-ics literature. But how do minorities react to the threat of discrimination? In this project, we investigate whether minorities misrepresent their ethnicity to avoid being discriminated and how such behavior affects efficiency. We run a modified version of trust game on discrimination in the country of Georgia. In Georgia, first names serve as unambiguous identifiers for ethnic affiliation (Georgian or Armenian). We implement four between-subject treatments: In treatment G-G, a Georgian first-mover (trustor) plays the trust game with a Georgian second-mover (trustee). In G-A, the first-mover is Georgian and the second-mover is Armenian. Following Fershtman and Gneezy (2001), ethnicity is revealed through first names in the two treatments. Comparing first-mover behavior between G-G and G-A yields the basic level of discrimination in the society. In the third treatment, G-A_signal, we implement a signaling stage before the first-mover takes her decision. In the signaling stage, the Armenian second-mover has the option to signal her ethnic affiliation to the Georgian first-mover. Comparing first-mover behavior between G-A_signal and G-A shows whether the signaling stage increases efficiency by mitigating discrimination. Finally, in the fourth treatment, A-A_signal, first- and second movers are Armenians. Comparing second movers’ signaling behavior between G-A_signal and A-A_signal informs us about the extent to which second movers’ signal choice is strategic.
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Registration Citation
Kudashvili, Nikoloz. 2017. "Do minorities hide their ethnicity to avoid being discriminated? Experimental evidence from Georgia." AEA RCT Registry. October 11.
Experimental Details
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Overall efficiency: That is the number of total tokens “produced” in the game (number of tokens sent by first mover times three). 2. Signaling behavior: The message chosen second movers in “G-A_signal” and “A-A_signal”.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
First- and second-mover’s beliefs about each other’s behavior.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We conduct a lab-in-the-field experiment with four treatments: “G-G”, “G-A”, “G-A_signal”, “A-A_signal”.

Randomization Method:
- Assigning participants to different treatments by blindly drawing a numbered card out of a bag of several cards.
- Georgian Schools: Randomization between G-G (first- and second-mover), G-A (first-mover), G-A_signal (first mover). Armenian schools: Randomization be-tween G-A (second-mover), G-A_signal (second-mover), A-A_signal (first- and second mover).
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Numbered Cards drawn from non-transparent bag
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
700 (350 Georgian participants; 350 Armenian participants)
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There will be four treatments.
G-G: 160 observations (80 first-movers, 80 second-movers)
G-A: 160 observations (80 first-movers, 80 second-movers)
G-A_signal: 220 observations (110 first-movers, 110 second-movers)
A-A_signal: 160 observations (80 first-movers, 80 second-movers)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Continuous outcomes. For continuous outcomes, we rely on Johnson and Mislin’s (2011) Meta-Study on trust game behavior. They find that, across 161 independent trust games, the share of tokens sent by the first-mover was 0.5 with a standard deviation of 0.12. Based on these fig-ures, we perform our power calculation for our first primary outcome, overall efficienty as measured by first-mover choices. Comparing first movers between treatments G-G (80 observations) and G-A (80 observations), our minimal detectable effect size is 5 percent of initial endowment. Comparing first movers between treatments G-A (80 ob-servations) and G-A_signal (110 observations) yields a minimal detectable effect size of 5 percent of the initial endowment. Binary outcomes. For our second set of primary outcomes, the dependent variable is binary (e.g., 1=signaling Armenian ethnicity, 0 else). Assuming that in treatment G-A_signal 30 percent of second-movers reveal their Armenian identity, the minimal detectable effect size for comparing second-mover’s signals between G-A_signal and A-A_signal is 19 percentage points.
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