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Do workers discriminate against their out-group employers? Evidence from an online labor market
Last registered on August 04, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Do workers discriminate against their out-group employers? Evidence from an online labor market
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003885
Initial registration date
March 31, 2019
Last updated
August 04, 2019 4:51 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Iowa State University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Iowa State University
PI Affiliation
Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-04-01
End date
2019-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
A large body of literature in economics has demonstrated that prejudice or bias of the majority group towards members of an out-group identity – whether it be racial, religious, ethnic or gender in origin – is widespread in labor markets. Such biases often lead to discrimination. It is commonly believed that labor market discrimination is one-sided: driven by employers toward their out-group employees. In this research, we restrict attention to racial identity and seek to study possible discrimination in the reverse direction, i.e., we ask, do workers discriminate on the intensive margin (say, by shirking or under-providing effort) for an out-group employer relative to an otherwise-identical, own-group one? We design a large scale real effort experiment on Amazon's Mechanical Turk to answer our research question.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Asad, Sher Afghan, Ritwik Banerjee and Joydeep Bhattacharya. 2019. "Do workers discriminate against their out-group employers? Evidence from an online labor market." AEA RCT Registry. August 04. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3885-3.0.
Former Citation
Asad, Sher Afghan, Ritwik Banerjee and Joydeep Bhattacharya. 2019. "Do workers discriminate against their out-group employers? Evidence from an online labor market." AEA RCT Registry. August 04. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3885/history/51203.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2019-08-04
Intervention End Date
2019-08-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Each worker in this experiment will work on a simple button-pressing task, alternating `a' and `b' on the keyboard, to score 'points'. A number of points scored by each worker (effort) on the given task in a given treatment will be the primary outcome of interest.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Our measure of 'discrimination' will be constructed using effort choices of workers when working for the Black employer versus effort choice when working for the White employer.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Beliefs on demographics of the racial groups Black and White.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In this experiment, each worker will be randomly assigned to one of the following ten treatments and will then work on a simple button pressing task, alternating `a' and `b' button presses on the keyboard, to score `points'. Workers' payment scheme and the matched employers will vary depending on the assigned treatment. Here is a list of treatments.
1. Piece Rate – 0 cents: A worker’s payment will be unaffected by the number of points he/she scores in the task. No matched employer.
2. Piece Rate – 3 cents: A worker will be paid 3 cents for every 100 points he/she scores in the task. No matched employer
3. Piece Rate – 6 cents: A worker will be paid 6 cents for every 100 points he/she scores in the task. No matched employer
4. Piece Rate – 9 cents: A worker will be paid 9 cents for every 100 points he/she scores in the task. No matched employer
5. Altruism Baseline: A worker’s payment will be unaffected by the number of points he/she scores in the task. Worker’s matched employer will be paid 1 cent for every 100 points scored by the worker. The employer identity will be hidden.
6. Altruism Black: Earning rule will be the same as in the Altruism Baseline for both the worker and the employer. The employer’s forearm and hand will reveal dark/white skin color in the video. The employer will be Black.
7. Altruism White: Earning rule will be the same as in the Altruism Baseline for both the worker and the employer. The employer’s forearm and hand will reveal dark/white skin color in the video. The employer will be White.
8. Reciprocity Baseline: A worker’s payment is unaffected by the number of points he scores in the task. The worker will be paid 20 cents extra as a reward before the task begins. Worker’s matched employer will be paid 1 cent for every 100 points scored by the worker. The employer identity will be hidden.
9. Reciprocity Black: Earning rule will be the same as in the Reciprocity Baseline for both the worker and the employer. The employer will be Black.
10. Reciprocity White: Earning rule will be the same as in the Reciprocity Baseline for both the worker and the employer. The employer will be White.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Done by Qualtrics' randomization feature as the worker joins the study. The subjects will be assigned to treatments based on the blocked randomized design where a block is defined by the combination of gender, age, income, education, party and the most lived' state of the respondent. Each white subject will be assigned to one of the ten treatments, while the black subjects will be assigned to one of the only four treatments (race salient treatments).
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
6,000 white individuals and 2,400 black individuals
The study will be kept open on Amazon Mechanical Turk until either 3 weeks have passed or 6,000 white subjects have completed the study, whichever comes first. If three weeks pass without 6,000 white subjects completing the study, then the study will be kept open (up to six weeks) until 6,000 subjects are obtained. The study may be left open for black workers for a longer duration, just because there are not enough black workers on MTurk and it may be harder to get a representative number of black workers in that time frame.
Sample size: planned number of observations
6,000 white individuals + 2,400 black individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
600 individuals per treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Institutional Review Board, Office for Responsible Research, Vice President for Research, Iowa State University
IRB Approval Date
2019-03-25
IRB Approval Number
18-201