Experimental Design Details
Because of legal constraints, neither the Census nor any administrative dataset containing ethnicity and names is available in the Czech Republic. In order to obtain names signaling ethnicity, we use a sample of surnames extracted from a convenience survey of poor families in Brno (second largest city in the Czech Republic). From these, we have selected a sample of 20 potentially Roma and typical Czech-sounding names. We have tested the ethnicity signal associated with these names at the end of a lab experiment (unrelated to this project) in which we asked the participants (mostly students of Masaryk University in Brno) to assign one of four ethnicities (Czech, Slovak, Roma, or Hungarian) to each name. For the two names most strongly associated with Roma ethnicity (Lakatoš and Gaži), 70 percent of our participants believed they belong to Roma (2-5 percent thought they are Czech and between 10 to 15 percent stated they are Slovak or Hungarian). For the two names most strongly associated with the Czech majority (Svoboda, Pospíšil), over 95 stated they belong to the Czech majority. We use these four names to signal ethnicity in our emails.
Between one to three employees in each local branch will receive our emails. Given the limited sample size (457 public servants, 2.3 from each local branch on average), our design involves between as well as within-subject variation. Each recipient will receive three emails with at least 10 days gap between them. Both ethnicity and education signals will vary between subjects in each batch of emails we send out. Within-subject, two initial emails each official will receive will differ in the ethnic signal, keeping education signal constant, the third will vary the educational signal. We will be sending our emails twice a week (on Tuesdays and Thursdays) for a total of five weeks so that each branch receives at most one email in any given day from us.
The contact information to unemployment benefit specialists was retrieved from the website of the Czech Social Security Service in July 2019 (portal.mpsv.cz, the Service recently introduced a new website, www.uradprace.cz, which also contains the contacts to individual employees). For each employee, the website states their name, rank, specialization, and contact information. We focus on employees specializing in unemployment benefits and advising the unemployed.